Finding My Way Home

“Excuse me, would you be able to tell me where the Baikonur metro station is?” So go my usual interactions with the people of Almaty as an American who finds herself getting lost almost everyday on the way back to her host family’s apartment. The passerby in question usually gives me a strange look, most … Continue reading Finding My Way Home

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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

Places to Visit in St. Petersburg: Datsan Gunzechoinei and Tspkio Park

A simple Friday afternoon turned out to be one of my most favorite days when a friend and I had decided to seek out Datsan Gunzechoinei, or Russia’s most northern Buddhist temple. In 1909 a representative of the Dalai Lama was granted permission to build a Buddhist temple in Saint Petersburg and it was then … Continue reading Places to Visit in St. Petersburg: Datsan Gunzechoinei and Tspkio Park

The New Moscow

When I decided to come to Moscow, I was most of all excited to see old stuff—Soviet relics, dead writers’ apartments, art from bygone dissident movements. I listened to music from the 1930s to prepare myself and made lists of museums to visit. I wanted to live in a Moscow that had stopped existing sometime … Continue reading The New Moscow

How to Make the Most of your Time in St. Petersburg: 8 Recommendations

1. Explore the neighborhood you live in and don’t only stay on Nevsky Prospect. While there are many incredible things to see along Nevsky Prospect, the main drag, staying off Nevsky will allow you to see other attractions without the crowds of foreign and domestic tourists as well as helping to improve your Russian, as … Continue reading How to Make the Most of your Time in St. Petersburg: 8 Recommendations

Its More Than Just a Day of Victory

Yesterday was the 70th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany. День Победы, as it is known in Russian, marks a day of tradition, pride, and remembrance of those who served in the Great Patriotic War. That’s the official description at least. For all the Russians that I've met here in Moscow, the day holds … Continue reading Its More Than Just a Day of Victory

Cultural Capital of the Turkic World

Last month I wrote about Kazan’s reputation as the Sports Capital of Russia. Interestingly enough, Kazan holds the title of capital of more than just sports here in the Russian Federation and Central Asia as well. Coming from a background in Turkish studies and increasingly interested in Turkic relations, I was intrigued to find out … Continue reading Cultural Capital of the Turkic World

Traveling through Russian Space and Culture

Recently, my classmates and I here in Moscow booked not one, but two trips to elsewhere in Russia. We were lucky enough to travel to St. Petersburg last weekend, and we leave tonight for Nizhnii Novgorod and Kazan. While the payoffs of travel have been amazing, the planning process was anything but simple. However, train … Continue reading Traveling through Russian Space and Culture

An Alternative Winter Break

During winter break I elected not to travel home, and instead spent some time in Ukraine. A couple of days after classes ended, I flew to Kiev, where I met my father. We spent a week together touring the city’s cathedrals, Great Patriotic War monuments and museums, and of course stopping by Maidan to get … Continue reading An Alternative Winter Break

Moscow Experience

Learning Russian is not the only goal that I set for myself in coming to study in Moscow. Another important goal for me was to gain “Moscow experience”. However, I set that as a goal for myself without really knowing what I meant by it. The truth is that I cobbled together this phrase as … Continue reading Moscow Experience