7 Things I’ve Learned From Living in Kyiv, Ukraine

The past semester with SRAS’ Policy and Conflict program has been full of amazing adventures, a lot of Russian practice, travel throughout four countries (Georgia, Armenia, Moldova, and Ukraine), delicious food, and certainly several moments of pure culture shock. There were a few times I learned some lessons the hard way, but I ultimately survived […]

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The Importance of Living Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Studying by itself can be challenging, which puts studying in a foreign country in a whole different level of difficulty. This past summer has been one of the most formative and informational experiences that I have ever had; but it may not have ended that way unless I took the advice from my professor before […]

The Art of Daily Practice and Conversations

It’s a little bit surprising to look at the calendar and think that half of my first semester in Vladivostok is already gone. Seven weeks seem to have effortlessly drifted by in strict contention with my own efforts at learning the Russian language. I can say that my knowledge of Russian when I arrived in […]

5 Ways To Experience Buryat Culture in Irkutsk

Today there are approximately 500,000 people that identify with the largest indigenous group living in Siberia, the Buryats.  The Buryats are a group of people descendent of various Siberian and Mongolian people that inhabited the Lake Baikal area, where most of the ethnic group is still concentrated, with many continuing to engage in traditional ways […]

Chechen Journalist Calls Kyrgyzstan Her “Homeland”

Chechen Journalist Kamila Zhabrailova Talks about the Chechen-Kyrgyz Experience In Bishkek this past week, Chechen journalist Kamila Zhabrailova talked to SRAS students about the history and culture of Chechnya, the Chechen disapora in Kyrgyzstan, and her attitude towards the Boston marathon bombings. The Tsarnaev brothers are of Chechen descent and had spent some of their […]

Cody White: A Touch of Engineering in Russia

Cody White is an undergraduate engineering student at West Virginia University. He is currently halfway through a year long program in Russian Studies Abroad with SRAS, and has managed to use his ability to gain friends in any culture to have some truly remarkable experiences abroad. He hopes to work for the US government in the field […]

Chris Pike: Adventure, Teaching, and Giving Back in Russia

Chris Pike is a graduate student in Russian language and literature at Northwestern University. He is also an adventurer who has scaled mountains in Kamchatka and who has ridden a bicycle across the Gobi Desert. He has worked, studied, and interned in Russia as well and has recently completed another “arctic like” adventure on Lake […]

Stephanie Briggs: To Russia with a Very Big Stick

Stephanie Briggs is a disabled student with hydrocephalus and mild cerebral palsy. These conditions reduce her mobility and are a source of chronic pain. Despite this, she has completed a BA in Russian Studies and is now perusing a MA in Translation. She also travelled to and toured Russia in 2003. SRAS: Despite your guide books […]

Kyrgyzstan, A Love Story II: Immigrating to America

This is the second of a two part series. Read part one here. Living on opposite sides of the world, it would seem unlikely that I, a small-town American girl, would even meet my future husband, Rakhat, who is from a small village in Kyrgyzstan. However, as it happened, Peace Corps volunteers lived with his […]

Kazakhstan: An American Gains Fresh Perspectives

Explaining the motivation to leave one’s homeland, comfort zones, and, ultimately, established identity can be a difficult task. When the proposed destination is considerably less comfortable than one’s accustomed conditions, explaining becomes even more difficult. Catch phrases like “life changes,” “new adventures,” and “fresh perspectives” can only shed so much light on your intentions – […]

Kyrgyzstan, A Love Story

During the spring semester of 2008, I decided to study abroad in the rustically beautiful country of Kyrgyzstan. Many would be surprised at my exotic choice of destination (which is actually increasingly popular among SRAS students). However, what really set my study abroad experience apart from the ordinary was me. For I was not only […]

Notes From the Field: Life in a Reindeer Collective (part 2)

This is the second of a two-part series. Read part one here. The Evenki children I met were agile, happy, and rarely disciplined. They were left on their own to learn that knives are sharp and pots are hot. Toddlers, however, are tethered with a sliding cord to a horizontal rope tied between two trees, […]

Notes From the Field: Life in a Reindeer Collective

I first became aware of the Evenki reindeer-herding nomads of the Siberian Far East as an undergraduate pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Anthropology. Fascinated by the idea of an entire culture based on fur hunting and reindeer husbandry, I began to research the history of the Evenki from the prehistoric domestication of the reindeer […]

Sheep Guts Won’t Kill You: A Guide to Seeing the Kyrgyzstan that Most People Don’t (Part II)

This is the second of a two-part series. Read part one here Naryn: Work the System Some people I talked to suggested that Naryn was the most Kyrgyz of all the provinces. Most of the country’s Uzbek population lives south of this province, and the Russians tended to keep to the northern areas. In fact, […]

Sheep Guts Won’t Kill You: A Guide to Seeing the Kyrgyzstan that Most People Don’t

I’m an anthropologist. Actually, I’m still a year of fieldwork and a dissertation away from getting my Ph.D., so that makes me an anthropologist-in-training. In September 2007, I will move to Central Asia to study the ways people think about things like their ethnic group and their religion, and how that affects their participation in […]