My Favorite Language Teachers: кӯдакон

My first host family experience was back in 2014, when I worked as a fille au pair (live-in nanny) in Marseille, France. I lived with a French-Italian family, took care of Titien (three years old) and Timoté (five), and improved my French language skills whilst playing Legos or long games of cache-cache (“hide and seek”). … Continue reading My Favorite Language Teachers: кӯдакон


Hola, Россия!

Immersing myself completely into Russian culture was one of my goals for my semester abroad, and for me, this meant drinking tea with my host family at any time of the day to understanding cultural nuances and (occasionally) learning some slang words once in a while. I knew that every day I would be doing … Continue reading Hola, Россия!

History Coming to Life

I make it a point to regularly sit down with my host mother and chat. Classes, for as valuable as they are, are nothing compared to spontaneous interactions and real conversations. It’s been during these conversations that I realized I was talking to a woman who witnessed and was an active participant in the history … Continue reading History Coming to Life

Persimmons and Vodka Remedies: A Taste of Tajik Home Life

Sweet Flower My host mother’s name is Gulshirin (Per: گلشیرین / Taj: гулширин), literally “flower sweet,” but since we prefer to put our adjectives before nouns in English, “sweet flower” probably sounds better to your ears. Beautifully devout, she prays daily (maybe 5 times, I’m not sure), which I usually witness around dinner time during … Continue reading Persimmons and Vodka Remedies: A Taste of Tajik Home Life

Living with a host family for the first time

There is a lot about studying abroad in a country so far away from and different than the US that could intimidate anyone. The distance from loved ones, the language barriers, the cultural differences—you name it. For it me, however, the prospect of living with a host family made me for the first time made … Continue reading Living with a host family for the first time

The Stumbling Blocks of Returning to My Second Home

Oh my, oh my, I cannot even begin to express the joy I have felt being back in beautiful St. Petersburg, Russia. I am currently in my second year of graduate school and am pursuing a Master’s degree in Russian Studies and I am fortunate enough to say that this is not my first time … Continue reading The Stumbling Blocks of Returning to My Second Home

An Everyday Adventure

The kitchen of my host family's apartment is the center of all the best moments in their home - it's where I eat quiet breakfasts while studying before classes, where we gather at night to talk about our days over sweets and fresh fruit, and it's where I have gotten to know my hosts the … Continue reading An Everyday Adventure

Déjà Vu in Dushanbe

I was hit with an acute case of déjà vu as I disembarked from the plane at 4:30 am in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. This feeling was not without due cause, for 14 months earlier I had arrived in the very same spot when I first came to Tajikistan to participate in the U.S. State Department’s Critical … Continue reading Déjà Vu in Dushanbe