A Weekend Excursion in Issyk-Kul

Just a few hours after stepping off the plane, I was whisked away on an excursion to Issyk-Kul. I found myself on a van full of students I didn’t know, but with whom I quickly became friends. The ride out to the Issyk-Kul region was a long four hours over bumpy roads with a driver […]

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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 […]

Four Day Trip to Moscow from St. Petersburg

When I told my family that I would be studying abroad in Russia, they all seemed to ask me the similar question of would I get to see the Kremlin, Red Square, or St. Basil’s Cathedral. I always found these inquiries to be comical because all three of these are located in Moscow, yet I […]

Learning Through a Passport: The Undeniable Importance of Travel

“Travel is the most intense mode of learning”- Kevin Kelly, executive editor of Wired magazine   Eight months ago, my year of studying abroad began. I arrived in Tbilisi, Georgia as part of the Policy and Conflict in the Post-Soviet Space (PCON) program. Over the course of the following fall semester, I travelled all across […]

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 […]

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 […]

Bolshie Koty

Bolshie Koty/Большие Коты Day Trip from Irkutsk Located on Lake Baikal (trip included in SRAS cultural program for Irkutsk for Fall, 2017) Bolshie Koty is a village located on the Western shore of Lake Baikal about 12.5 miles North of Listvyanka. There are several ways to reach it by either boat, train, or on foot […]

Corpus Christi in Lowicz – Day Trip from Warsaw

Celebrating Corpus Christi—In the town of Lowicz All day event Budget: 150zl for food and souvenirs (trip included in SRAS cultural program for Warsaw for Summer, 2017) Corpus Christi is a Catholic holiday celebrating the Blood and Body of Christ. Since Poland is majority Catholic, most stores and eateries in the country are closed for […]

Starlite Diner – A Taste of America in Moscow

Starlite Diner (with Russian Politics Presentation) Breakfast and presentation included as part of SRAS Cultural Program Summer, 2017 Locations throughout Moscow; Hours vary Otherwise, meals available for about $12-15 In celebration of the Fourth of July, the students of SRAS Moscow were invited to breakfast at an American-themed restaurant called, “Starlite Diner.” Starlet Diner takes the […]

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 […]

Dzhon Dzholi in Moscow: SRAS Farewell Dinner

Dzhon Dzholi in Moscow Locations across Moscow – Hours vary Dinners from $15-40 Our summer program with SRAS is unfortunately coming to an end. To celebrate the end of a great experience, our group was invited to a Georgian feast where we ate some of the tastiest food in the city. We went to Джон […]

Muzeon–The Statue Graveyard

Tour of Muzeon Included in the SRAS Cultural Program Summer, 2017 Free Admission Website Directions: Take the metro to Park Kultury and cross the Krymskiy Bridge over the Moscow River. On your right, you will see Gorky Park, and on your left is the New Tretyakov Gallery and Muzeon. Budget: Muzeon is free to the […]

Chistaya Liniya Ice Cream Factory Tour in Moscow

Чистая Линия (Chistaya Liniya) Ice Cream Factory Tour Included as part of the SRAS Cultural Program Summer, 2017 Website The SRAS group in Moscow was invited on an excursion to Чистая Линия (Chistaya Liniya), an ice cream factory known for quality ingredients and of course, delicious ice cream! We started off the tour by meeting […]

Happy Russia Day from Moscow

Moscow Day Celebrations June 12th – multiple locations throughout Moscow Guided excursion included as part of SRAS’ Summer, 2017 cultural program ~1000 rubles for food, drink, and souvenirs С Днëм России! This holiday is a very exciting time not only for native Russians, but for visitors as well! This year, celebrations were particularly extensive in […]

Svaneti: The Mountains of Georgia: Travel for PCON

Svaneti: The Mountains of Georgia Included within Travel Program for Policy and Conflict in the Post-Soviet Space for Spring, 2017 Photojournalism by Rebekah Welch I’m from Missoula, Montana, in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, where you’ll find beauty wherever you place your eyes, so much so that you become desensitized to it, take it […]

A Glimpse of Armenia’s Many Monasteries: Travel for PCON

A Glimpse of Armenia’s Many Monasteries Included within Travel Program for Policy and Conflict in the Post-Soviet Space for Spring, 2017 A little known fact (at least, in America, where most things about Armenia are unknown) is that Armenia despite its many Muslim neighbors, was actually the world’s first Christian nation, officially adopting it in […]

Victory Day in Irkutsk

Victory Day in Irkutsk Holiday Celebrated every May 9th Festivities around the city generally free Victory Day (День победы), celebrated on May 9 across Russia, is arguably the most important Russian holiday, other than New Year’s. There are massive celebrations across the country dedicated to Russia’s win in World War Two, or the Great Patriotic […]

Travel to Chisinau from Kyiv: Travel for PCON

Moments from the Streets of Moldova Included within Travel Program for Policy and Conflict in the Post-Soviet Space for Spring, 2017 Photojournalism by Rebekah Welch Although it’s a mere hour away by plane, Chisinau feels far from Kyiv. It’s smaller, slower-paced, simpler, closer to nature, and entirely more curious about foreigners with cameras. That’s not […]

Buryat Cooking Lesson at Ulus in Irkutsk

Ulus, Buryat-Mongolian Restaurant (Улус) Buryat Cooking Lesson Part of SRAS Cultural Program, Spring, 2017 130 Kvartal, ul. 3 Iyulya 23 One of my favorite things about living in/traveling to other countries is getting to know the national cuisine. Irkutsk is located right next to the (Russian) Republic of Buryatia, and as such has a large […]

Tsaritsyno Museum-Reserve in Moscow

Tsaritsyno Museum-Reserve: Walking Seminar and Picnic Dolskaya ul., 1, Moscow, 115569 Offered as part of the SRAS cultural program – Summer, 2016 Free, but bring ~$10 if you want a snack Tsaritsyno is a park and museum complex in southern Moscow. Currently one of the largest reserves in Moscow, the land started as an aristocratic […]

Home Sweet Yurt

Yurts are felt-covered, portable housing that have long been used throughout Central Asia. Although the region is urbanizing, the Kyrgyz still know and follow the traditional customs that surround the traditional yurt. Hospitality is revered in the traditionally poor country of Kyrgyzstan. As soon as they see a new arrival, neighbors will come to meet […]

Exploring Russian Traditions in Vladivostok

The international department at VGUES has, throughout the semester, taken us on various excursions around Vladivostok. This week, we ventured back into time to explore some of the old Russian traditions. At a rather nondescript apartment building near the city center, a kind babushka beckoned for our group to come inside. We were then ushered […]

Making Lagman in Bishkek

One of the cultural classes we have done with SRAS is a cooking class. In the cooking class we were taught how to make Lagman, one of the main dishes of the shepherding cultures of Central Asia. It is a good, filling, and simple dish perfect for life in the mountains or for a lunch […]

A Trip to Tsarskoye Selo from St. Petersburg

Tsarskoye Selo: Catherine Palace and Park / Царское село: Екатерининский дворец и парк Cost: Catherine Park – 120 rubles (60 w/student ID); Catherine Palace – 520 rubles (260 w/ student ID); Hours: Park – 10am-7pm; Palace – 10am-6pm Tzar.ru While my short stay in St. Petersburg was quickly dwindling down, I was determined to get […]

The Opening of the Fountains in Peterhof

The Opening of the Fountains in Peterhof/ Открытие фонтанов в Петергофе Большой Петергофский дворец, Петергоф, Россия Cost: 500 rubles (400 w/ student ID) Open: 10am-6pm Daily; 10am-7pm on Holidays and Weekdays Peterhof-express.ru For the small city of Peterhof located less than 20 miles outside of Russia’s “northern capital” of St. Petersburg, the third Saturday of […]

The Kremlin Ballet

Kremlin Ballet State Kremlin Palace ул. Воздвиженка, д. 1 (Box Office) Box Office Hours: Every day from 12:00 to 20:00 Performance Times: 14:00 and 19:00 depending on the day Cost: 500-800 rubles per ticket, minimum In late September, as one of the SRAS Cultural Excursions, our group went to see the ballet “Snow Maiden” (“Снегурочка”) […]

9 Reasons To Study in Batumi, Georgia

When the world first came into existence, the Creator had a big meeting where he divided up the earth and gave different pieces of land to all the people of the world. As luck would have it, the Georgian people were having a supra (a grand feast) the same day, had a little too much […]

The Salvation Army in St. Petersburg: A General Overview

The Salvation Army of St. Petersburg / Армия спасения в Санкт Петербурге Ул. Литейная, 44 http://pitersa.ru/ In the USA, humanitarian groups like the Salvation Army serve as highly visible, influential actors that champion for social justice. However, does the same hold true in other parts of the world, such as in Russia? As part of […]

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 […]

VSUES Maslenitsa in Vladivostok

Maslenitsa at VSUES/Масленица во ВГУЕСе Ул. Гоголя, д. 41 (VSUES dorms) Dates change each year Free and open to VSUES students, faculty and staff If you happen to be in Russia during the spring, one of the highlights of the season (along with the melting ice and ubiquitous mud) is the celebration of Масленица (Maslenitsa). […]

Deputy Prime Minister Shuvalov’s Speech in Vladivostok

Deputy Prime Minister Shuvalov Visits VGUES While I wasn’t able to sit down with my family for a traditional Thanksgiving Day meal, I was treated to a certain Thanksgiving day surprise.  About a week before Thanksgiving, we Americans studying at VGUES were informed that Igor Shuvalov, a Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, was […]