The Family Unit in Tajikistan

Due to coronavirus sending me home prematurely from my study abroad in Tajikistan, I have recently had to move back in with my parents. This is something I did not anticipate for myself. Although, I love spending time with my parents, I miss the freedom I had living in my apartment, taking care of, and thinking only for myself.

Until Next Time

After many years spent dreaming about the city of white nights, opulent Tsarist palaces, and old Soviet metro stations, my semester in Saint Petersburg got off to an anticlimactic start. I touched down at Pulkovo Airport on an overcast, Wednesday afternoon. Itching to finally meet the storied city, I de-boarded the plane to find myself in a listless airport.

Terms of Endearment (Russian Edition)

When it comes to learning a new language, people do not often think about how difficult it is to express affection or emotion. In English, using terms of endearment is not difficult; it comes without thinking. Yet, in a new language, one has to make the conscious decision to try and use these terms, but …

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Unforgettable Moments and Friends: A Photo Blog

This is me and my host sister, Aidana. We are standing in front of Кок Тебе which is an amusement park in the mountains in which you take a Gondola ride to get to the top. It is a well-known sight in Almaty, Kazakhstan. There is a car filled with apples in the picture. The …

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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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Moshing in Moscow

Coming from Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., I have been lucky enough to experience two flourishing music scenes. While both cities have excellent medium to large music venues, what makes their scenes so great are their DIY venues. The venues, often located in basements and apartments, are hubs for local artists in their respective communities. I …

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Тофжан’s (Tofzhan’s) 40 day Celebration

In America, baby showers are the most popular way of celebrating the soon-to-be parents and child. A few weeks before the child’s birth, friends and family gather together and bring gifts to the mother for the future baby. Most gatherings are small, but some can be pretty extravagant. However, in Kazakhstan, people do things a …

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The Suburbs of Moscow

I live with a host family in a six story "brezhnevki" apartment building that was constructed in the 1970s. As a historian, I am in love with my surroundings as my home is a veritable time capsule of Soviet life, complete with carpets in every imaginable orientation and the feverish canning of fresh vegetables for …

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Добро пожаловать в Казахстан

I had very few expectations in mind when my plane touched down in Almaty. I was both mentally and physically exhausted from traveling for almost 48 hours straight, and as soon as I approached customs, I knew that my language skills were lacking, to say the least. I figured that this semester would be challenging …

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