Taraz and Turkestan – Windows to Kazakhstan’s Past

From a Western perspective, Kazakhstan may come across as the “middle of nowhere”. The country is not very populous or receive much limelight in western-centric media. However, given the history of Central Asia, Kazakhstan turns out to be the middle of everything - Central Asia has long been a crossroads of civilization, a melting pot … Continue reading Taraz and Turkestan – Windows to Kazakhstan’s Past


Ice Skating

One activity that I wanted to do while in Russia was ice-skating. I was not sure when or with whom, but given its prevalence among Russians and the fact that it’s not something I would normally do, it was on my list of priorities. And so it happened that sometime in mid-November, after walking around … Continue reading Ice Skating

Minutes Pass, Hours Run, Days Fly

I heard an expression here once that roughly translates to, “Minutes pass, hours run, and the days fly by.”  I understand what this means more than ever, now that it’s already December and study abroad is drawing to a close.  I honestly don’t really know how to feel right now – where did the time … Continue reading Minutes Pass, Hours Run, Days Fly

Finding the “свой” in the “чужой”.

I think one thing that's important to remember (which I completely forgot about in the beginning, shame on me) is to hang out with yourself. Take some time alone away from your friends, your group, etc. and enjoy your own company. Study abroad is not only a great time to learn about a new language … Continue reading Finding the “свой” in the “чужой”.

When you say “hike” …what exactly do you mean?

If you are looking for a city to study Russian, but do not want frigid temperatures to trap you inside for four to nine months, Almaty is the city for you! Kazakhstan allows students to study Russian language with the great outdoors of Central Asia at their doorstep, literally. Every morning when I walk to … Continue reading When you say “hike” …what exactly do you mean?

Getting around in Russia

One aspect of Russia that I have come to appreciate over my time here is the amount of transportation services available to the public, from day to day bus rides around the city, to high speed trains like the “Lastochka”, that can be used to travel quickly to and from different regions.  Metro trains and … Continue reading Getting around in Russia