You’re Going Where To Do What?!

That was the question my each and every member of my family asked when I told them I was participating in this program. They couldn't believe that I, a Belgrade-born native/heritage speaker of Serbian, was going to spend the summer in Belgrade taking language classes. They could not stop laughing. Naturally it sounded like a … Continue reading You’re Going Where To Do What?!


Language and Empathy

While studying abroad in Kazakhstan, it has been the first time in my life to live in a multilingual society. Kazakh is the native language, but Russian is widely spoken and understood, as Kazakhstan became a part of the Russian Empire in the 19th century and gained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. … Continue reading Language and Empathy

The Curious Case of the Moscow Commuter

Coming from a small town in New Jersey and attending college at a relatively small campus, I am not a person who spends a long time getting from one place to another. On average, it takes me about ten minutes to get from my dorm room to any of my classes and the general amount … Continue reading The Curious Case of the Moscow Commuter

I Get By With A Little Help From My Host Mom

I have been blessed over these past few months with a wonderful host family experience. My host mom, Natasha, is not only great at keeping me fed and safe, but she has shown me kindness and friendship in ways that I would have never expected from her. Before I left for Russia, my professor in … Continue reading I Get By With A Little Help From My Host Mom

Finding and Escaping Normalization in Tbilisi

You find what you’re made of when you go solo on a program. Over one year ago, I decided that Eurasian Regional Language Program was best to pair with my Boren Scholarship application, because of the intensive 15+ hours of language lessons each week. I felt that this was what I needed to reach my … Continue reading Finding and Escaping Normalization in Tbilisi

Flying Rats

“I hear that you call pigeons ‘flying rats,’” my tutor, Tanya, said to me as we navigated through the crowds on Nevskii Prospekt – she with the confident steps of a natural Petersburgian, me with the internal clumsiness of an outsider. Pace-for-pace I stroll along with the crush of people, cycling out of the Metro … Continue reading Flying Rats

Fulfilling a Dream

I first dreamed of studying abroad when I was a freshman in high school. At the time, my oldest brother was studying in Rome, Italy. His increased fluency in language, academic and cultural experiences, new-found friends, and happiness were things that I was drawn to and decided I wanted for myself. For the past several … Continue reading Fulfilling a Dream

Russian Self

At times I find myself wondering why I ever came to Russia—not in a negative way but in an introspective way. Before I came here, I really didn’t know too much about the country besides the obvious, Dostoevsky, Putin, unicycle riding bears, and lots and lots of snow. Now that my first semester here is … Continue reading Russian Self


In conversation, the topic is one of the most polemic. In history, its events are the most memorable. And in life, its effects are disastrous. Of course, Edwin Star had it right all along. "War… What is it good for? Absolutely nothing." The fact of the matter is that living in Russia, the topic of … Continue reading Rebuilt

More Russian Every Day

Five weeks. Five weeks is what remains of my time in Russia. It seems like only yesterday I was entering the dorms on a dark and stereotypical Russian night, still adjusting to the 9 hour time change from Chicago. Still fresh with fear of an unknown culture and what the future may bring. While it … Continue reading More Russian Every Day