Seeing the Warmer Side of Russia

Like many students who decide to study Russian, I fell in love with the country’s literature before I began studying the language. The prospect of developing the skills to read that literature in its original format can be a great motivator. However, the pantheon of great Russian writers can also have a chilling effect for … Continue reading Seeing the Warmer Side of Russia


Language and Empathy

While studying abroad in Kazakhstan, it has been the first time in my life to live in a multilingual society. Kazakh is the native language, but Russian is widely spoken and understood, as Kazakhstan became a part of the Russian Empire in the 19th century and gained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. … Continue reading Language and Empathy

Study Abroad: Prepare Yourself

Study abroad. To some, this term elicits wondrous fantasies of far away lands where all of the people welcome you with open arms and mounds of food. To some, it is a vacation; a chance to party in new places, drink new beers, and meet new people. To others, and often those about to embark … Continue reading Study Abroad: Prepare Yourself

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

My Petersburg Attraction

It’s difficult to explain why I love Saint Petersburg despite its adversarial, antagonistic nature. This trip marks my second time in Russia, and I have plenty of incidents I can point to that would undoubtedly color many’s perception of the city. During my first time here, two years ago, I slipped and fell on icy … Continue reading My Petersburg Attraction

Winter, Colds, and Healing

Moscow in winter is quite an interesting place to live. Russians have lived in Moscow for centuries, so one would think that Russians would love, or at least tolerate, the cold. From my experience, the reality is quite the opposite; Russians passionately hate the cold. Of course, this is a broad generalization. I think they … Continue reading Winter, Colds, and Healing

Language Improvement and Apartment Life in St. Petersburg

I want to start out this blog by saying that I was more than hesitant to sign up to live with a host family while I was staying in Russia. At first I thought the homestay would be uncomfortable because speaking Russian hasn’t been my strong point, and I thought that the family wouldn’t know … Continue reading Language Improvement and Apartment Life in St. Petersburg

The Great Boot Search

A traveller can wrack his nerves in an attempt to anticipate and prepare for problems ahead. In this pursuit, it is easy to waste money and time in over-preparation and over-thinking. It may be of benefit to the reader to relate the experience of an acquaintance of mine who did just that. He loved to … Continue reading The Great Boot Search

Russian Self

At times I find myself wondering why I ever came to Russia—not in a negative way but in an introspective way. Before I came here, I really didn’t know too much about the country besides the obvious, Dostoevsky, Putin, unicycle riding bears, and lots and lots of snow. Now that my first semester here is … Continue reading Russian Self