Visiting an Aul in Western Kazakhstan

After months of living in the modern metropolis of Almaty, my fellow Americans and I decided to embark on one last adventure before the end of our semester together in Kazakhstan. Lucky enough, we had befriended a local student at our university who invited us to visit his аул (aul/the Kazakh word for village) in …

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Russian Desserts

There are so many desserts at Pirogovyj Dvorik (Пироговый дворик) that ordering can become quite overwhelming. Luckily, I’ve been eating lunch there with my friends three to four times a week every week since the beginning of the semester. That means I’ve already eaten there about 40 times. And although it’s still early December, I …

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Learning More Than A Language Through Food

Host family life provides innumerable benefits to a student trying to orient themselves in a new place and navigate interactions in a different system of social norms. However, the benefits of host family life extend beyond just helping you to settle in; in fact, four months in to host family life, I'm constantly amazed at …

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Pastrami Sandwiches and the President of Kazakhstan

My order was a “pastrami Santa-Monica” from City Brisket for 1200 Kazakh tenge. I have no idea what these words mean, nor the amount of dollars spent on this culinary oddity. This sense of confusion arises often in Kazakhstan, particularly when an English speaker encounters unyielding translations at restaurants and cafes. Nevertheless, an odd sense …

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Food Culture and Options in Moscow

I grew up in San Francisco with a Russian family. Borsch, kotlety, pelmeni, pierogi and olivye salad were household staples for the longest of time for me. But all of those “traditional” Russian foods are dependent on each family on how they are made, and what they feature. For example, I grew up not liking …

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A Different Kind of Everyday

In a span of 3 weeks, I have learned and experienced a lot about Taiwan and Tainan City.  The people in Tainan are known for their hospitality.  The laid-back attitude, friendliness, and willing-to-help spirit of the people of Tainan speak volumes to a foreigner like me.  Certain cultural differences may come as a shock, but …

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