Traveling to Kazakhstan from Moscow

Kazakhstan is located in Central Asia, a landlocked country and the ninth largest country in the world. I took a four-hour flight from Moscow to Almaty for a little over $100 (cheaper tickets are definitely available). The gargantuan mountains that tower Almaty to the south of the city dominated my first impressions of the city, […]

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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 […]

Trip to Krasnoyarsk from Irkutsk

Over winter break I decided to take a longer trip outside of Irkutsk – to Novosibirsk. On my way, I stopped for 3 days in Krasnoyarsk. This entry will cover just my time in Krasnoyarsk. Another will focus on Novosibirsk. Why should you go to Krasnoyarsk? It’s definitely a great stop for nature lovers. One […]

Trip to Novosibirsk from Irkutsk

After my trip to Krasnoyarsk I reached my final destination, Novosibirsk. Immediately I could see a difference in size from Irkutsk. Novosibirsk had much more of a “big city feel.” The metro, tall buildings, and sheer size (population 1.5 million) was exciting in comparison to what I’d grown used to in Irkutsk (population 600,000). There […]

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 […]

A Weekend in Minsk

As an SRAS student in Russia, you’ll likely have a multiple-entry student visa. This means that you should be able, with proper planning, to explore not only Russia, but other countries nearby. Near the end of the semester, four of my friends and I decided to do just that. We settled on Minsk, largely because […]

Lviv – Weekend Trip from Kyiv

Coffee, Chocolate, and a Dose of the True Ukrainian Spirit Cost of Trip from Kyiv to Lviv: 1,425 Hryvnia (Roughly $55 for housing, transport, food, and souvenirs) While studying in Kiev, I’ve had the amazing opportunity of living with a Ukrainian host family who enjoys welcoming students from all over the world. Both of my […]

The Streets of Tbilisi: Travel for PCON

Tbilisi, Georgia Included within Travel Program for Policy and Conflict in the Post-Soviet Space for Spring, 2017 Photojournalism by Rebekah Welch Tbilisi, the capital city of Georgia is known for its unique (and un-regulated) architecture and cheap cost of living. In a few short days I discovered both are true, but also that there is […]

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 […]

Trip to Vladivostok from Irkutsk

Trip to Vladivostok from Irkutsk $550 for 4.5 days* Vladivostok has been top on my list of Russian cities to visit for a while now, so I was determined to get there while I was living in Irkutsk—and, to add urgency to the matter, I needed to go to an American consulate, and there’s one […]

Trip to Khabarovsk from Irkutsk

Trip to Khabarovsk from Irkutsk ~$500 for 2–3 days* This week, I took a long trip from Irkutsk. The end point was Vladivostok, but because of how expensive all the flights from Irkutsk to Vlad are, I ended up with a twelve-hour layover in Khabarovsk. However, I figured it would be nice to explore the city […]

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 […]

Travel from Warsaw to Ustroń Polana

Travel from Warsaw to Ustroń Polana A Spring Break of Quiet Solitude ~$150 for 2-3 days Usually about the time spring break comes around in the US, I am ready for a week off class. I like to spend this time in some remote region where the sound of a car driving by is unlikely […]

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 […]

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 […]

Literary History on the Trans-Siberian Railroad

This article originally appeared on SRAS.org in 2007. It is reproduced here, in updated format, as an excellent guide to using travel to bolster cultural understanding and professional insight.  It was written by Sarah Kapp, who studied Russian as a Second Language in Moscow through The School of Russian and Asian Studies (SRAS). She also […]

Horse Trekking in Kyrgyzstan

Horse Trekking in Kyrgyzstan Glaciers and Vodka Baths A Review of Kyrgyz Summer Adventure, an SRAS educational program One of my absolute favorite things about travelling is the sensations one experiences when waking up and falling asleep in a foreign country. While not thoroughly confusing, it is disorienting enough to give one a pleasant reminder […]

Travel to Eastern Europe from Moscow

Note: This text, about a trip I took through Eastern Europe in 2006 is actually still surprisingly up-to-date. This is particularly true of the text’s main message – that actually visiting the places you’ve studied in college and written term papers professing your knowledge of is essential to actually knowing what you are talking about. […]

Traveling Platzkart on Ukrainian Trains

Mention train travel in the former Soviet Union, and almost inevitably the discussion will at some point turn to the infamous “platzkart,” or third-class wagons. For those Westerners who have never traveled platzkart, the concept has taken on an almost horror-story-like quality over the past few decades, conjuring up images of cramped, uncomfortable quarters and […]