Terms of Endearment (Russian Edition)

When it comes to learning a new language, people do not often think about how difficult it is to express affection or emotion. In English, using terms of endearment is not difficult; it comes without thinking. Yet, in a new language, one has to make the conscious decision to try and use these terms, but …

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Host Families: A Reflection

From the time I first started filling out my application to go abroad, I knew I wanted to live with a host family. It was a decision I made early on, and once the decision was made, I didn’t really think about it again. That is, I didn’t think about it until I received my …

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Dan Davidson Fellowship Essay: Samuel McKnight

“Russia and U.S.-Russia relations are what get me out of bed in the morning.” That’s what I told a political science class at Roanoke College, my home institution. The professor, after having heard about my experience and read some of my written work, had invited me to share about my thought and experience with his …

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Russian Desserts

There are so many desserts at Pirogovyj Dvorik (Пироговый дворик) that ordering can become quite overwhelming. Luckily, I’ve been eating lunch there with my friends three to four times a week every week since the beginning of the semester. That means I’ve already eaten there about 40 times. And although it’s still early December, I …

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Celebrating a Birthday Abroad

While spending a birthday abroad in a foreign country without family or close friends can be difficult and lonely, it is just as easy to turn the day into a great memory for years to come by sticking to what you know. Personally, I enjoy bonding with family and friends by huddling close together over …

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Last Weeks in St. Petersburg

In these last weeks of the program, our Resident Director has been reminding us that now is the optimal time for language gain. This is something that we were told at orientation as well, and it’s helpful to have the reminder during these last few weeks. For me, they have been the toughest on the …

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Making Friends In Russia

Making friends in Russia is hard. It’s hard everywhere, as a matter of fact, for an introvert who only has two or three close friends and absolutely despises small talk and struggles to come up with even a single topic of conversation in the face of any prolonged interaction with a stranger. Naturally, these difficulties …

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My First Month in Saint Petersburg

When I decided to come to Saint Petersburg to study abroad, I didn’t know what to expect. I hoped, of course, that I would have a great semester and that my language speaking abilities would improve. However, I wanted to avoid setting unrealistic expectations, and having them disappointed. I decided to make myself a few …

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