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

The Monuments of Russia

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in Moscow this summer (and there certainly is, given the truly insane amount of incredible experiences I’ve already had in only a few short weeks), it’s that Russians love their monuments. Monuments to Pushkin and Bulgakov, Zhukov and Alexander Nevskii litter the streets of every Russian city – along … Continue reading The Monuments of Russia

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

Nevsky Prospect

It can be rather overwhelming at times to simply choose a sightseeing destination to visit in St. Petersburg. The city is teeming with attractions, from the palaces, cathedrals, and other historic buildings to the modern art exhibitions and pristine suburbs. It should come as no surprise that the Hermitage Museum, Kazan Cathedral, and the Peter … Continue reading Nevsky Prospect

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

Kuhistoni Badakhshan

At 6 am on September 21st, seven students and I crammed into two jeeps and headed east. Although it was still hot in Dushanbe, we carried backpacks filled with sweaters and jackets; we were told that it would be cold up on the “Roof of the World.” Our excursion to Badakhshan would take us across … Continue reading Kuhistoni Badakhshan

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

Tajikistan? Where’s That?

Tajikistan? Where’s that? What are you doing there? Why do you want to go there? Is it dangerous? Be careful! In the weeks leading up to the beginning of the Eurasian Regional Language Program (ERLP), I was frequently asked these questions by just about anyone I mentioned it to. Admittedly, even though I had traveled … Continue reading Tajikistan? Where’s That?