Kunstkamera in St. Petersburg, Russia

In Saint Petersburg you could go to a museum every day for 3 months and not visit them all. There are a few that are simply must-see — some for their magnificent art and architecture, others for their historical value, but there is one in particular that everyone should visit for its sheer uniqueness. Kunstkamera […]

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White Nights: Culture and Night Life in St. Petersburg

10:17pm sunsets and 3:30am sunrises. That was my initial description of St. Petersburg when friends and family asked how my study abroad experience is going. The 18 hours of daily sunlight that mark St. Petersburg’s “White Nights” are nature’s gift to the northern city that is Russia’s cultural capital. Though the sun sets at around […]

Metro Pub in Bishkek

If you find yourself wondering what to do in Bishkek on a Friday night, then you should check out Metro Pub. It has a massive dance floor in the back that plays electronic dance music, while the front has a smaller dance floor with a live band. The dance floors are packed on the weekends, […]

Moscow’s Top Seven Parks

After long and grueling Russian winters, many Muscovites enjoy spending the summer months outside, strolling the many parks and shady sanctuaries scattered across the city. Moscow is a very green city and offers over 100 parks, squares, and public spaces to escape the city heat and the urban hustle of a city with over 12 […]

E. Gareyev Botanical Garden in Bishkek

If you love walking outside, and enjoy gardens, butterflies, birdwatching, or running, the E. Gareyev Botanical Garden is a must-see destination when traveling to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. In my short time in Bishkek, I have spent many enjoyable early mornings and late afternoons strolling around this garden. Given its proximity to central Bishkek, a brief walk […]

Hiking Near Bishkek: 12 Kaminov

While there is plenty to do in Bishkek, the main reason many people choose to study there is to experience the breathtaking landscape of Kyrgyzstan’s countryside. The SRAS program organizes hiking excursions to Ala-Archa and around Issyk-Kul, but there are also free weekends when you can hike independently to lesser-known areas. My friend Allie and […]

How to Survive Your First Week in Bishkek

I arrived in Bishkek in a daze. I had just spent thirty hours travelling, and it hadn’t quite set in that I was actually in Kyrgyzstan. Honestly, I didn’t feel like I was really in Kyrgyzstan until I visited Issyk-Kul later that day. The excursion coordinator at the London School, Danar, picked me up from […]

Sand Sculptures at Peter Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg, Russia

Just outside the walls of the mighty Peter Paul Fortress, on a Neva River beach, is a different kind of architectural grandeur. The Sand Sculpture Festival (Фестиваль песчаных скульптур) takes places every summer here in central St. Petersburg.   Each year has a theme; this year (2018) the theme was “World Masterpieces,” and the festival […]

Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines in St. Petersburg, Russia

Maybe you’ve heard of Pacman, Donkey Kong, and Space Invaders, but what about Rally Авторалли-М), The Humpbacked Horse (Конек Горбунок), and Torpedo Attack (Торпед Атака)?  While Americans were shoving quarters into arcade machines to play game after game, those in the Soviet Union were dropping in 15 kopecks in just the same way. A few […]

Boating in Irkutsk

One of the best parts of Irkutsk in the spring and summer is the beautiful Angara River and, of course, an unfrozen Lake Baikal. One can walk along the shores of the river or cook out near the forests surrounding the river. There are lots of fisherman and small boats around  – and boating, we […]

Boat Tour Around St. Petersburg – My Farewell to the City

As the spring semester was winding down in St. Petersburg, my fellow classmates and I all wanted to have one last stroll around the city. Luckily for us, SRAS had another idea in mind: a boat tour! Our local coordinator informed us that we’d have an hour tour that would take us around the canals […]

Soulmate Cat Cafe in St. Petersburg

Coffee and cats – what could be better? One thing that many students studying abroad have in common is the yearning to see their beloved pets again. Not all students are ready to return home, but many of them simply miss their pets and are in dire need of some animal cuddling. Luckily for my […]

Bar Dekabrist in Irkutsk

Located downtown and a short walk from the central market is The Decembrist’s Bar or Bar Dekabrist. This local hangout is perfect for a night out with friends. The atmosphere is quite different from that of most other local bars and is more of a “hipster” vibe with a very comfy feeling. It is also […]

Dorm Sports in Irkutsk as an Immersion Experience

As spring arrives and the weather is getting better the urge to get out and active is getting stronger and stronger. While gyms can be found around the city they can be expensive unless you do some shopping around for a good deal. Luckily there is another way to stay fit and active for free. […]

Russian Learners and Speakers Club in St. Petersburg

One of the most intimidating and difficult parts of learning a language is speaking. I only really found this out after coming abroad. Most foreign language courses will start with the alphabet, grammar structure, and basic phrases needed to navigate a foreign city. This was the level of Russian I had when I first arrived […]

Russian Banya in Irkutsk

One of the most relaxing ways to spend time with friends and rid yourself of some stress is visiting a Russian banya. Not only is this beneficial to one’s health, but it is also a great way to experience one of Russia’s fun traditions. A banya traditionally consists of three rooms: the pre-bath room, the […]

Trip to Vilnius, Lithuania from Moscow

I visited Vilnius in January 2018 to catch up with an old friend who’d moved there from America about a year earlier. Although it was my first time in the Baltics, and I had no idea what to expect, I quickly fell in love with the small, winding cobblestone streets, the old architecture and charm […]

Skiing in Olkha (Daytrip from Irkutsk)

While there are several options for skiing within Irkutsk city limits, it is nice to take a short day trip to get a taste of the more rural nature scene. As someone who loves to ski but is by no means a professional, Olkha Ski Resort is a great option. Olkha offers several different hills […]

Intelligent Flea Market in St. Petersburg, Russia

Where the Affordable Meets the Trendy As an avid window-shopper and a habitual bargainer, it’s understandable why flea markets hold a special place in my heart. I can confidently say that I have never turned down going to any kind of flea market, even if it has landed me in some unimpressive places. For the […]

Day Trip to a Russian Dacha from St. Petersburg

For my spring semester abroad, I’m studying right in the heart of St. Petersburg, Russia. I’m surrounded by a ton of cute cafes and diverse restaurants, and I’m within walking distance of several popular attractions in the city, such as the Hermitage and the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood. However, being in the […]

Maslenitsa Through the Eyes of American Students, 2018

On February 17, squares, avenues and parks in every corner of Russia celebrated Maslenitsa, a traditional Russian holiday that marks the imminent end of winter with mountains of hot, delicious blini and revelry. Originally a pagan holiday celebrated as early as the 2nd century A.D., Maslenitsa has been somewhat folded into Orthodox Christian traditions and […]

Ice Skating in Irkutsk

There are many great things about living in Siberia, but one of my favorites would be constant access to ice skating around October-March. There are several rinks both indoor and outdoor at varying costs, but the best two I have found so far are Ice People, Law School Rink, and a small rink on Ulaan […]

25th Annual Charity Bazaar- Kyiv, Ukraine

During my fall semester in Kyiv, I have gone to numerous museums, concerts, art exhibits, and lively gatherings around the city. I’ve had the time of my life exploring different festivals and cultural excursions, but I can confidently say that my favorite event was the 25th Annual IWCK Charity Bazaar! Every year, the International Women’s […]

Being Catholic in Irkutsk

Staying religious abroad can be hard for many; I know it has been for me, especially in an environment where there is a language barrier and it takes a bit of effort to seek out the resources needed. Luckily, after visiting a few different churches, I found The Immaculate Heart of Mary Cathedral (Собор Непорочного […]

Cat Café in Irkutsk

Koteyka Kotocafé is a cat café that is a great place to relax and pet lots of friendly cats. The café is clean, modern, and minimalistic. The place is big enough to hold a good amount of people without feeling cramped or uncomfortable. This unique café is a well-hidden gem which is more than worth […]

Paintballing in Irkutsk

If you are looking for an adrenaline rush and an hour of fun look no further than Baza 38. Located only a few minutes from the university dorms, this paintballing arena is a well-priced, fun option to spend a day with friends. The outside actually says Институт систем энергетики им. Л.А. Мелентьева (Melentiev Energy Systems […]

Unity Day in Irkutsk

Unity Day (День народного единства) is held on November 4 every year across Russia. It commemorates the uprising which kicked out the Polish occupying forces from the Kremlin in November of 1612 at the end of the Polish-Muscovite War. The holiday was recognized during Imperial times, but after the 1917 Revolution, the Soviets replaced the holiday with […]

Zvezdny Bowling Center

Zvezdny Bowling Center Декабрьских Событий, 102/1 10:00-0:00 Price 3-13$ Website Zvezdny bowling center is located in the center of Irkutsk, not far from the university. While my friends and I were just there for the bowling, there is also an attached movie theatre that looks clean, nice, and inexpensive. The bowling center is very clean […]

Shopping in Kyiv

Shopping in Kyiv, Ukraine A Real Bang for your Buck Fall 2017 When packing for my semesters abroad, I gave myself a rule: One backpack and one suitcase. I’m a firm believer in “traveling light,” and one suitcase, in my opinion, is more than enough space for the necessities. Any extra clothes/shoes/accessories that you may […]

The Monastery of Saint Nino at Bodbe in Georgia

The Monastery of Saint Nino at Bodbe: The Beauty of Sighnaghi Sighnaghi, Kakheti, Georgia (Excursion included in the Policy and Conflict Program, Fall 2017) Price of visit and lunch: 25 Lari   During my first week in Georgia, my classmates and I took a trip out to Sighnaghi, which is roughly a two-hour drive from […]

Discovering the History of the Uprising

Warsaw Rising Museum Grzybowska 79 See Website for Details During a class taken as part of my Security and Society program, a professor noted that the Poles were great at two things: “Uprising, and terribly failing at it”. Since the city of Warsaw is history everywhere you look, I decided to go to the Warsaw […]

In Memory of the Warsaw Uprising

The Minute Warsaw Stood Still Marking the Anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising Every August 1st at 5:00 PM Place: Any Busy Street in Warsaw Walking around Warsaw on a daily basis, I have not become a stranger to witnessing memorials or places where something important in history has occurred. Everywhere in Warsaw it seems to […]

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