Preparing for and Coping with Culture Shock

Some of our students report not feeling culture shock at all. Some are surprised by how much culture shock they experience. Often, those most affected are those who did not expect it. So how can you prepare to live in a new culture and get the most out of the experience? How do you prepare […]

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Reasons to Visit the Anna Akhmatova Museum in St. Petersburg

The Anna Akhmatova Museum at the Fountain House is a charming museum that provides both a glimpse into the life of the famed poet and the culture of St. Petersburg that she lived in the 1930s and 40s. Akhmatova is one of the most well-known poets of the Silver Age of Russian literature whose poem […]

A Guide to Recycling in St. Petersburg

After my first few weeks in Russia I noticed that I was starting to amass quite the collection of plastic water bottles. Due to the fact that the tap water in St. Petersburg is unsafe to drink I resorted to buying bottled water more frequently than I ever had in the US, and because my […]

SRAS Guide to Living in St. Petersburg

The following is a quick overview to some of those services and products that students often need in the course of a semester or summer abroad. This covers everything from haircuts to pharmacies and gyms to computer repair. Students should generally expect to need to speak at least some Russian when seeking out these experiences […]

Managing Your Cash While Abroad: A Student Guide

Eurasia today is quite affordable. Students are often surprised how far their dollars will go even in major cities like St. Petersburg and Warsaw – and very surprised at how far they go in places like Bishkek and Irkutsk. However, students can also be surprised at how easy it is to run into troubles – […]

Russian Vodka Museum in St. Petersburg

The Museum of Russian Vodka in St. Petersburg uses vodka to take visitors on a delightful stroll through Russian history. One can even sample different varieties of vodka along the way. The museum is located a block and a half away from the Aleksandrovskiy Garden at Konnogvardeyskiy Bulvar 4, and operates from 12 pm to […]

A Tour Through St. Petersburg’s Annenkirche

St. Petersburg’s Annenkirche is a sight worth seeing. An Evangelical Lutheran church built in the 1770’s, the building has seen many reincarnations throughout its life. During the time of the Soviet Union the building was used to house a cinema, then until the early 2000’s the space was transformed into a nightclub. The nightclub remained […]

A Weekend Trip to Sochi

In terms of climate, Sochi is not what you would expect from a Russian city. Sochi has a humid subtropical climate that somewhat resembles central California. Average temperatures range from relatively comfortable winters, at 11°C (52°F), to very comfortable summers, at 24°C (75°F). Just outside the city limits, the Caucasus Mountains rise abruptly, giving the city […]

Weekend Trip to Kazan from St. Petersburg

Travel within Russia is comparatively inexpensive and, while studying in St. Petersburg, I’ve been able to see many great cities will keeping to a student budget: Sochi, Murmansk, Irkutsk, and now Kazan. Kazan is unique and now one of my favorite Russian cities. This uniqueness stems largely from the Tatar and Muslim influences in architecture […]

Arrival in St. Petersburg

Oh, look, a forest. The first thing that I noticed after touching down at Pulkovo Airport (other than how exhausted I felt) was a wide belt of trees on the runway. Whether or not they are enough to be considered a forest, I am not positive. But it definitely felt like an appropriate first sight […]

Traveling to Irkutsk from St. Petersburg

Travel in Russia is extremely cheap when compared with taking domestic flights in North America. For example, where a flight from Nova Scotia to Montreal with a duration of an hour and a half would be close to $600 round trip, I made a four day trip from St. Petersburg to Irkutsk (a 9 hour […]

A Grand Tour of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg

At some point in your SRAS program in St. Petersburg, there will be a trip to the Hermitage. Sergey is the usual tour guide for this trip, and he is full of stories and inside facts that you would have never gotten if you had gone on your own. When you’re walking toward the Hermitage […]

Long Weekend Trip to Murmansk from St. Petersburg

When I arrived in Russia I knew that one thing I wanted to do was see the Northern Lights. Many Russians seemed to think that this was ironic as I am Canadian and one can see the Northern Lights in Canada’s Arctic regions as well. What Russians do not know, however, is that traveling in […]

Holidays in St Petersburg: A Foreigner’s Perspective

Upon my arrival to St Petersburg, Russia in September I was fully aware that I would be spending the holidays in a foreign country. This was because roundtrip flights back to North America are expensive, especially during the holiday season. The only reassuring thing about being away from my family in Canada during the holidays […]

My Summer Abroad in St. Petersburg

When I took off from Chicago at 6pm one evening at the beginning of summer, I was not entirely sure what I was in for. Flying across the globe on my own? I had never even left the country! While I wasn’t sure at that moment what my summer would entail, looking back, I can […]

Excursion: Tantsy Minus Rooftop Concert in St. Petersburg

SRAS bought us concert tickets as part of our cultural program. It was an exciting opportunity to see modern Russian popular culture. I had never been to a rock concert before, and I especially had no idea what to expect of one in Russia. Our eager guide, Alina, told us that we’d be going to […]

Udelnaya Flea Market in St. Petersburg, Russia

Six blue line stops north of Nevsky Prospect  is one of the most enjoyable and authentic experiences that I have had in Russia. Rows and rows of stalls selling clothes, antiques, jewelry, tools and everything in between. Some sellers shout about what they’re selling, while others discuss prices and make sales with shoppers. This is […]

Kunstkamera in St. Petersburg, Russia

In Saint Petersburg you could go to a museum every day for 3 months and not visit them all. There are a few that are simply must-see — some for their magnificent art and architecture, others for their historical value, but there is one in particular that everyone should visit for its sheer uniqueness. Kunstkamera […]

The Bus System in St. Petersburg, Russia

“To get there, take Minibus 287 or Bus 186 and transfer to Bus 545.” As I heard this, I almost couldn’t believe it. Just how many buses were in this city? And how could it be possible to learn to use them in just a summer? My next thought was, why even learn? I can […]

White Nights: Culture and Night Life in St. Petersburg

10:17pm sunsets and 3:30am sunrises. That was my initial description of St. Petersburg when friends and family asked how my study abroad experience is going. The 18 hours of daily sunlight that mark St. Petersburg’s “White Nights” are nature’s gift to the northern city that is Russia’s cultural capital. Though the sun sets at around […]

Study Abroad Program Review: Cuba-Russia Connection

I embarked on the Cuba-Russia Connection program offered by SRAS in May of 2018. However, this incredible program really began months before me landing in Cuba. SRAS’s communications with me and the resources they offered before the study abroad trip helped set me up for the great experience that was the Cuba-Russia Connection. SRAS emailed […]

St. Petersburg: Student Budgets and Logistics

Students in Moscow report spending about $80-110 a week average over the course of their stay. This covers groceries, city transport, an occasional meal out, school supplies, modest weekend entertainment, and other general living expenses. Note that this guide assumes 65 rubles = 1 US dollar. Prices current as of September, 2018. In This Guide […]

Vaffel & Wine in Saint Petersburg

When I first walked by a heart-shaped waffle sign reading “Vaffel & Wine”, I thought that it seemed like an odd combination for a restaurant — and why was it spelled like that?  I did not end up visiting until a few weeks later when a few of us happened to be walking by and […]

Conchita Bonita Restaurant in St. Petersburg

A long list of St Pete restaurants to try out isn’t necessary when you’ve landed on the quaint restaurant known as Conchita Bonita. Located on 39 Gorokhovaya St, Conchita Bonita is a dark, modest, and welcoming Mexican restaurant thriving in St. Petersburg, Russia.  Conchita, which is the diminutive word for “shell” in Spanish, and bonita, […]

Packing List for Study Abroad (+what to do with your laptop, cell phone, etc.)

A semester or year stay abroad requires considerable planning. If you will be spending winter months in most SRAS locations, luggage can quite easily become unwieldy, which can mean airline charges for overweight bags. Planning what you need in advance can help you avoid this (and help you avoid forgetting something important). Invest in good, […]

Sand Sculptures at Peter Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg, Russia

Just outside the walls of the mighty Peter Paul Fortress, on a Neva River beach, is a different kind of architectural grandeur. The Sand Sculpture Festival (Фестиваль песчаных скульптур) takes places every summer here in central St. Petersburg.   Each year has a theme; this year (2018) the theme was “World Masterpieces,” and the festival […]

Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines in St. Petersburg, Russia

Maybe you’ve heard of Pacman, Donkey Kong, and Space Invaders, but what about Rally Авторалли-М), The Humpbacked Horse (Конек Горбунок), and Torpedo Attack (Торпед Атака)?  While Americans were shoving quarters into arcade machines to play game after game, those in the Soviet Union were dropping in 15 kopecks in just the same way. A few […]

Bushe, Cafe in St. Petersburg, Russia

On my first day in Saint Petersburg someone took me to a cafe. At that point, I didn’t know the name of the cafe, how I got there, or how to get back to the University — but the cafe was an inviting place. The decor was simple: wooden tables and chairs, plain white walls, […]

Five Great Burger Places in St. Petersburg, Russia 

When studying abroad in any country, it’s completely normal to go through periods of culture shock and homesickness. Every student will discover their own ways to fight this, whether it be through watching a favorite movie or calling a friend or family member. Personally, whenever I find myself missing home, I typically go on a […]

Koreana Restaurant in St. Petersburg

During one of my many afternoons of wandering around the city and exploring the streets of St. Petersburg, I stumbled across the Koreana Restaurant. Having never tried Korean food before, I texted one of my fellow classmates who was familiar with the cuisine and invited her along with me. She mentioned that she’d heard fabulous […]

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 […]

Adapting to the Class Schedule in St. Petersburg

Be Sure to Bring Your Coffee! Students should abroad expecting entirely new experiences. This includes new experiences in how university-level classes are scheduled, a process that is different in both Ukraine and Russia from what most students are used to in the United States. While abroad in Kyiv, Ukraine (PCON Program) and St. Petersburg, Russia […]

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