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, […]

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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 […]

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 […]

Meeting Locals in Irkutsk

Getting Involved and Meeting Locals In Irkutsk A few suggestions Meeting local friends is one of the best ways to not only learn Russian, but also to feel at home in one’s host environment. The first few weeks in Irkutsk can be hard if you don’t know what to do or where to go, that’s […]

Going to Catholic Mass in Warsaw, Poland

Catholic Mass in Warsaw, Poland at Holy Cross Church Krakowskie Przedmieście 3 Sunday Mass Times: 6:00, 7:00, 10:30, 11:45, 13:00, 16:00, 19:00 Before I ventured over “The Pond” to Europe, I made a promise to my mom that I would go to at least one service in a Catholic Church while I was there. Keeping […]

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 […]

Masha’s Dacha – Featured SRAS Excursion out of Moscow

Masha’s Dacha Included as part of SRAS’ Cultural Program Summer, 2017 This summer, the students enrolled with SRAS Moscow had the opportunity to visit the outskirts of the city and spend the day at a very generous Russian family’s dacha. A dacha is similar to a country house, and they are a hugely important part […]

A Guide to Warsaw Groceries

While Warsaw offers many good and affordable restaurants, I prefer to cook for two reasons. The first is to save money, which I prefer to spend on trips around Poland. The second reason is that most of my Polish friends cannot afford to go out to eat often. We usually meet up, buy groceries together, […]

Ulan-Ude, Weekend Trip from Irkutsk

Ulan-Ude Weekend Trip from Irkutsk Cost estimate: $125 for 2.5 days Halfway into our program in Irkutsk, both I and a friend were feeling the travel bug again and were ready for a change of scene. Ulan-Ude, the closest major city from Irkutsk, was definitely that. A few hours after my friend and I stepped out […]

Travel to Odessa from Kyiv

 Beaches, Wine, Ancient Fortresses, and Small Town Charm A Trip to Odessa from Kyiv Weekend or Longer Trip Budget: ~$150 total for 3 days Best way to get there: Minibus Worth it: Absolutely Since the time I first watched Everything is Illuminated and fell in love with Eugene Hutz’s character Alex, a Ukrainian wannabe gangster […]

Three Ways to Keep Fit in Warsaw

Perhaps the greatest anxiety I have whenever I go abroad centers on maintaining my workout routine. Back in the U.S., my university has an amazing gym, which offers yoga and pilates classes, aerobics classes, free weights, workout machines, and an indoor and outdoor swimming pool. In Warsaw, however, my university (Collegium Civitas) does not have […]

Two Cafes in Warsaw: Sipping Coffee, Studying, and Socialising (Paradox and Wrzenie Świata)

Paradox Café 2 Anielewicza Street 10am-12pm Drinks for about $2-3 Wrzenie Świata 7 Gałczyńskiego Street 9am (10am on weekends) – 10pm Drinks for about $2-3 One thing that I love the most about Warsaw is that there is always a cafe or coffeehouse nearby, no matter where you are located. As I am not much […]

Jiu-Jitsu Training in Bishkek

Top Team Jiu-Jitsu Training Sessions are at different times I trained M/W/F 7:00-9:00 P.M. Located on Geological Street (It’s the first alley on Baatik Baatura after you pass Vefa walking from the School) When I first arrived in Bishkek I decided that I’d like to continue my martial arts training. I had done a few […]

Travel to Georgia from Bishkek

Travel to Georgia from Bishkek ~$400 for a 6-day trip I am currently a student in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan but I love traveling in general. Therefore, when my friend studying in Moscow asked me if I’d be interested in taking a trip to Georgia to meet up, I obviously said “Yes.” I planned out a six-day […]

Couch Surfing Community in Vladivostok

Couch Surfing Networking Events Various Locations, Costs While the university is a great place to meet people, and I have no doubt that I’ll continue to make new friends here, it does have the sense of an isolated community. Universities tend to be their own small worlds, able to let students function independently from the […]

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 […]

All About Anticafes in St. Petersburg

Anticafes in St. Petersburg Hang out and meet locals Multiple Locations in St. Petersburg Russian: антикафе. Also called a free space (свободное пространство), time-club (тайм-клуб), or time-cafe (тайм-кафе) Anti-cafes are “free spaces” for you to relax with friends, keep busy with wi-fi, play board games or video games, drink tea and coffee, nom on some […]

Personal Experience: Homestay St. Petersburg

During my seven month stay in St. Petersburg, I opted to live in a homestay with a Russian host family. I initially had images of a small apartment with carpets on the walls and lace pillow covers, Russian children biting my ankles, and a warm and loving grandmother (babushka) to dote on me and stuff […]

Personal Experience: Playing Baseball in St. Petersburg

Many SRAS students seek to add extracurricular activities to their time abroad to help them integrate into their communities, improve language skills, and make new friends outside their classes. Particularly in Russia, where universities do not tend to officially host many clubs, reaching out of your comfort zone to find new opportunities is key (and […]

12 Tips for Meeting Locals in St. Petersburg

One of the factors study abroad returnees quote as most highly influential in their experience is the relationships they make with locals. The benefits of making friends with Russians are far-reaching, including everything from language practice to having a couch to crash on next time you’re in town. The following is a list of places […]

The Amazing Experience of Living with a Host Family in Irkutsk

Many students study abroad and each will have a unique experience. In my opinion, the opportunity to live with a host family when in Irkutsk is not to be missed.Some programs allow students to stay in dormitories, where they can interact with other students, or in apartments where they can really live in the city, […]

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 […]

The Expats of Vladivostok

The Expats of Vladivostok Republic Bar First Tuesday of every Month (or whenever Barry says) 7:00PM-11:00PM I always thought an expatriate was an American citizen living abroad. It made sense in my head, an expatriate simply being a former patriot. It wasn’t until I came to Russia that I learned that expatriate is just a […]

Anti-cafe in Vladivostok

Антикафе “Отдел Культуры” // Department of Culture Anti-Cafe Светланская ул., д.5 // 5 Svetlanskaya Street Monday 6:00pm-12:00am Tuesday 12:00pm-4:00am Wednesday 12:00pm-12:00am Thursday 12:00pm-12:00am Friday 12:00pm-4:00am Saturday 10:00am-4:00am Sunday 10:00am-12:00am Coolest Hangout Spot in Vladivostok anti-cafe.org One of the coolest places to hangout in Vladivostok happens to be part of the anti-cafe movement. The “Department of […]

The Trouble with English

Before heading to St. Petersburg, SRAS coordinator, April Djakoniya, asked each of us to write down any volunteer opportunities we wanted to pursue. When studying Russian in America, one of the most helpful resources for me was native speaker volunteers, who were willing to sit through my poor Russian speaking and still always be very […]

Home Sweet Homestay

For most students looking to study abroad, one of the biggest questions they face is whether to pay the extra money for a homestay, or just live in the dorms, which for SRAS programs, are covered in your base cost. I have been lucky enough to study in Moscow and live at the dorms, and study in St. […]

A Weekend at the Dacha

During my Russian studies at Indiana University over the past two years, the concept of a “dacha” or Soviet-era summer home always intrigued me. While my family has taken multiple vacations during which we stayed in cabins in Indiana or the Great Smoky Mountains, we—like most Americans—were happy to return to our permanent home. Yet […]

Couch Surfing to New Friends in St. Petersburg

We try to anticipate everything before we head abroad – Where will I live? What kind of clothes do I need to bring? Where will I go if I get sick? What kind of transportation will be available in the city? But there’s also a more obvious question that we may forget about until we […]

Fortune Telling in Bishkek

Recently, a colleague and I went to a yasnovidyashi, a Kyrgyz fortuneteller (the name actually translates to “Clear Seer”), for the first time. Why? We’ve never done it before, we were looking for a new experience, and we were curious to know more about these infamous women of Bishkek with the “dangerous” reputation of hypnotizing […]

Interview with Patriotic Music Professor in Bishkek

If you want to better understand a country’s government, study its culture. (Если хочешь ближе узнать историю государства, изучай его культурe.) In that spirit, I sat down with one of Kyrgyzstan’s top experts on the most important spheres of Kyrgyz national culture — the art of storytelling. Duishaliev Kamchibek Sharshenovich is a charming music professor […]

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 […]

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