It’s All Quite Dream-like Here

A friend from the United States messaged me asking how my trip in Almaty, Kazakhstan was going, and, in my response, I called this trip “peak existence.” What does “peak existence” mean? I guess I’d describe it as a state of being where every interaction and experience feels meaningful and fulfilling. My emotions and feeling …

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Appreciating Your Time Abroad

Unfortunately, my time abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia is coming to an end. It is crazy to think that I have less than three weeks left with a city I’ve fallen in love with. Though I am excited to return home and share my experience with friends and family, I will surely miss St. Petersburg, …

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Navigating the Waters of Fluid Dynamics in Kazakhstan

It was early February, one of the coldest weeks in Almaty. The wind blew past my teacher, program director, and me as we searched for the Physics building on the main campus of our university. I could feel my nerves heightening, but this day had been long awaited. We found the lecture hall, but having …

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Shuba Hunting

In Russian, the word “шуба” [shoo-ba], plural: шуби [shoo-bee] has two meanings. 1. A fur coat 2. A salad that consists of alternating layers of mayonnaise, beats, and salted herring fish. The full name of the salad is translated as “Herring under a fur coat.” To most Americans, both are foreign and puzzling. Here we’re …

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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 …

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7 Lessons in 7 Days: My First Week in Russia

DAY 1: Finally, I’m in St. Petersburg -- the moment I’ve been waiting for! After how many years, I am finally here. However, it’s hard to know what to think after being in a plane for 15 hours. It’s hard to know how to take in all the Cyrillic alphabet that surrounds me as I …

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No, Not the Telephone

Not every memorable moment abroad is related to an eye-opening experience or an event that changes your understanding of yourself or the world around you. Those moments happen, of course, more frequently when you’ve just arrived in a new country and more sporadically as time passes by and you become more acquainted with the new …

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