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 […]

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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 […]

Weekend Trip to Helsinki, Finland from St. Petersburg

While studying abroad in St. Petersburg, I’ve had the opportunity to travel quite a bit, both within Russia and internationally. There are a handful of countries that are surprisingly easy and cost-friendly to travel to from St. Petersburg. The most popular weekend destinations for students are the neighboring states of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Finland. […]

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 […]

Make the Most of a Layover in Moscow

How I Spent My Long Layover in Moscow as I Flew to Irkutsk Layovers in major cities are very common in international travel and are often regarded as a headache to be kept to an hour or two – just enough to make sure you make the connecting flight. However, layovers can be a convenient […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Sergiyev Posad and the Lavra: Day Trip from Moscow

Сергиев Посад/Sergiyev Posad Троице-Сергиева Лавра/Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius Троице-Сергиева Лавра – open daily 8:00 to 18:00 Weekends churches are closed to the public Lavra’s Museum on-site closed on Mondays Free Admission to the monastery Train tickets round-trip – 600-1000 rubles   As our program rounds out to a close, some friends and I decided […]

Day Trip from Warsaw to Gdańsk

Travel from Warsaw to Gdańsk A Day of Exploring ~$60 for a day trip (for details on expenses and logistics, head to the end of the article!) With winter finally coming to an end in Poland, I have begun to travel to some places that were long recommended to me by Warsaw. One of the […]

Travel from Warsaw to Auschwitz-Birkenau

Travel from Warsaw to Auschwitz-Birkenau An Eye-opening Experience ~$80 for a day trip While in Poland, I decided to take in one of its most famous tourist sites – which also happens to be the site of one of the 20th century’s most horrific and painful events. In terms of budget, if you are looking […]

Listvyanka, outside Irkutsk

Listvyanka Day Trip from Irkutsk Part of the SRAS cultural package for spring, 2017 Listvyanka (Листвянка) is a small town approximately 50 miles from Irkutsk. It is the closest point to Irkutsk that’s directly on Lake Baikal. It’s a perfect day trip from Irkutsk. In the middle of winter, Listvyanka is an absolutely astounding site. […]

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 […]

Primorskiy Safari Park – Day Trip from Vladivostok

Primorskiy Safari Park Near Shkotovo (Outside Vladivostok0k) Admission: 600ru Safaripark25.ru This weekend, we got to make another excursion outside of Vladivostok. This time was not for hiking, however, but to see some of Primorsky Krai’s famed wildlife at the Safari Park. As part of a university sponsored trip, we took a chartered a bus from […]

Hiking Excursion to Falaza Mountain from Vladivostok

Falaza Mountain ~3 hours from Vladivostok Hiking and Nature Free Admission Fall has arrived in Vladivostok. The temperatures have begun to dip well into chilly territory, and the leaves are turning their bright hues. But inside the city doesn’t offer too much in the way of seeing fall beauty, so I had to get out […]

Ruh-Ordo Complex – a Day Trip from Bishkek

Ruh-Ordo Complex/ Культурный центр Рух-Ордо Address: Чолпон-Ата, Киргизия Hours 9-5 Monday-Sunday Admission: 300 som Ruhordo.kg If you visit Lake Issyk-Kul during the summer, check out the Ruh-Ordo Complex at Cholpon-Ata. This complex is an open air museum with beaches that boats an array of sculptures and cultural pieces, along with buildings devoted to Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Catholicism, […]

Kyrgyz Horse Games – a Day Trip from Bishkek

National Kyrgyz Horse Games / Националные конно-спортивные игры Address: Ипподром near Cholpon-Ata on Issyk-Kul Free This year elections for the Issyk-Kul region were coming. This does not affect life much as a temporary student in Kyrgyzstan except that it means that the Бир Бол political party set up the Horse Games with free entrance for anyone! […]

Supara Ethno-Complex, Bishkek

Supara Ethno-Complex/Супара Этно-Комплекс Supara.kg 1a Karagul Akmata Str., Kok-Jar village Meals from 340 som Супара Этно-Комплекс (Supara Ethno-Complex) on the scenic outskirts of Bishkek, was developed over the past several years by Tabyldy Egemberdiev, president of the enormously popular Шоро (Shoro) Company, which produces traditional Kyrgyz drinks, among other things. Egemberdiev’s wife, Janyl, was a […]

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 […]

Vladivostok: A Guide to Hiking and Beaches

If there is one thing I will regret about having spent an academic year in Vladivostok, it will be not spending an entire calendar year here. The winter truly does have a beauty unto its own as the ocean freezes and unfolds a new landscape unto the pedestrian explorer. On the other hand, being the […]

Local Travel – Getting out of Vladivostok

One of my favorite sensations as a traveler is finding myself in an unknown area with a wide-open schedule. Those with a sense of wanderlust can find plenty of opportunities to feed it while in Vladivostok. I have recently been making the effort to get out of the city center and see what the smaller […]

Ata-Beyit Memorial Complex in Chong-Tash

Ata-Beyit/Ата-бейит Day Trip from Bishkek Ата-бейит (Ata-Beyit, Kyrgyz for “Grave of Our Fathers”) is a memorial complex located in Chong-Tash, a village and skiing destination in the Chui Province about 15 miles south of Bishkek. The site honors two dark episodes in Kyrgyzstan’s history: mass murders that occurred in 1938 at the hands of the […]

Trinity Monastery of St. Sergius

Trinity Monastery of St. Sergius / Свято-Троицкая Сергиева Лавра In Sergiev Posad – Day Trip from Moscow Hours of Operation: 5:00-21:00; tours run daily from 9:00-18:00 during the summer, and from 9:00-17:00 during the winter (November 11-April 30) Cost: Free except for Vestry (Разница); one can purchase various guided tours On October 5, after visiting […]

Abramtsevo Artists’ Museum-Reserve

Abramtsevo Artists’ Museum-Reserve Day Trip from Moscow с. Абрамцево, ул. Музейная, д. 1 Hours of Operation: 10:00-17:30 (Summer Schedule), 10:00-15:30 (Winter Schedule), Wednesday-Sunday except the last Thursday of every month Cost: Full Price (adults, all exhibits) 1,295 rubles; Special Price (students and pensioners, all exhibits) 800 rubles; Free for other designated groups; Photos and videos in […]

6 Ways to Beat the Heat During a Russian Summer

Russia isn’t known for being a particularly warm country, but summers can see many areas of Russia warm up to over 90 or 100 degrees Fahrenheit. St. Petersburg, nestled on the northern coast of the chilly Baltic Sea, has never recorded temperatures above 98 degrees. However, it is a city packed densely with people, cars, […]

Daytrip to Yasnaya Polyana

Leo Tolstoy’s Family Estate Yasnaya Polyana Ясная Поляна, Тульская область, 301214 Open Tuesday-Sunday (Closed Mondays) Guided Tours 9:30-3:30 30 rub entry for students check the website for guided tour info&cost www.ypmuseum.ru Did you ever wonder how Tolstoy became a national treasure in his own time? How  an aristocrat become a celebrated author? What was his […]

Day Trip to Kronstadt

One of the best things about living in St. Petersburg is the ring of interesting day trip destinations that lay in the city’s suburbs. One of my favorite places to escape the hustle of the city is the town of Kronstadt. About 30 km west of the city center, Kronstadt is located on the island […]

Day Trip to Gatchina

Gatchina Palace – Государственный музей-заповедник “Гатчина” Open Tue – Sun, 10 am – 6 pm The ticket office closes at 5.00 p.m. Closed on Mondays and the first Tuesday of the month Student tickets for palace and park: 120 rubles Gatchinapalace.ru One of the best things about living in St. Petersburg is the ring of […]

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