How to Immerse Yourself Digitally When Traveling isn’t an Option

This summer has not gone quite like it was supposed to. As a grad student studying Linguistics and Russian & East European Area Studies at Indiana University, this is the first summer in three years that I have *not* been somewhere in the Balkans studying Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian (BCS). This summer, I was supposed to be in Sarajevo, Bosnia, but, unfortunately, a global pandemic had other plans.

My Favorite Foods in St. Petersburg

There are many things I miss from my short stay in Saint Petersburg: chatting with my host family over tea and buttered bread each morning and night; stepping onto Nevsky Prospekt to the sounds of cover bands playing Nirvana; walking through beautiful, Soviet metro stations on my way to school.

Life As A Vegetarian In Saint Petersburg

Food, for many people, is an important part of traveling. Going to a different country, with different types of popular food, can be exciting, or stressful, or a combination of both. I’m a vegetarian, so I don’t eat meat or fish, and I think my family and friends in the US were a little worried …

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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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