How to Cook in Bishkek: No Oven Required

When I signed up to live in the dorms, I was prepared to live on a diet of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and eggs. I was not encouraged to stray from this plan when I saw that the kitchen boasted only a hot plate in place of a stove and had no oven for […]

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How to Survive Your First Week in Bishkek

I arrived in Bishkek in a daze. I had just spent thirty hours travelling, and it hadn’t quite set in that I was actually in Kyrgyzstan. Honestly, I didn’t feel like I was really in Kyrgyzstan until I visited Issyk-Kul later that day. The excursion coordinator at the London School, Danar, picked me up from […]

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 […]

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. […]

Chaikhana Ok Saroy Uzbek Restaurant in Irkutsk

Chaikhana Ok Saroy (Чайхaна Ок-Сарой) café is a small restaurant located near the university in the area of the central market. It is about one block away from Shanghi City making it a great lunch option after wandering around the bazaar. The entrance is clearly marked and once inside the restaurant is on the second […]

7 Things I’ve Learned From Living in Kyiv, Ukraine

The past semester with SRAS’ Policy and Conflict program has been full of amazing adventures, a lot of Russian practice, travel throughout four countries (Georgia, Armenia, Moldova, and Ukraine), delicious food, and certainly several moments of pure culture shock. There were a few times I learned some lessons the hard way, but I ultimately survived […]

Sick in a Foreign Country? Here’s what to do!

Sick in a Foreign Country? Here’s what to do! Fall 2017- Kiev, Ukraine   When preparing to study/move abroad, the excitement is overwhelming. You’re preparing to enter a new culture and you’re prepping yourself for the many changes that are to come. There’s a million things circling around in your head, such as housing, flights, […]

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 […]

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 […]

Izmailovin’ – A Beginner’s Guide to Enjoying the Vernisazh in Izmailovo in Moscow

Vernisazh Souvenir Market at Izmailovo Izmailovo Park (Metro Partizanskaya) Wednesday-Sunday from 10am to 8pm Closed Monday and Tuesday Budget: 40 rubles – infinity   Calling all tourist trap victims who are simultaneously balling on a budget: Put down that overpriced Matryoshka doll that you found in Red Square and back away slowly. If you’re as […]

Earning a Living on the Streets of Ukraine

From Busking to Animal Suits: the Shady and Skilled of Ukraine’s Streets  Month of March, 2017 Photojournalism by Rebekah Welch Ukraine is a beautiful country with a fascinating history. It also has an impossibly cheap cost of living. Between those two facts, it is a rapidly growing tourism center for Europe. In fact, it ranks […]

Controversial Theater in Warsaw: Curse

Curse Teatr Powszechny Powszechny.com Throughout my stay in Poland, I have found that one of the most pressing concerns in society is the role the Catholic Church plays in state and public affairs. A Croatian theater director, Oliver Frljić, known for creating theatrical productions that focus on pressing contemporary problems in specific countries, has now […]

International Women’s Day Eve in Kyiv

Pre Women’s Day Festivities in Kyiv, Ukraine Every March 8th, but really March 7th, too.  Perhaps no one in the world takes the celebration of the 8th of March, International Women’s Day, as seriously as those in Kyiv. It makes sense that the day is especially heralded in Ukraine and Russia, as it was a […]

City Dump Museum in Irkutsk

Irkutsk City Dump Museum Fifth kilometer of Aleksandrovskiy Highway Free The Irkutsk city dump museum is one of the strangest places I have ever been in my life—not just for the fact that it exists, which is weird enough in and of itself, but for what’s in it. The dump/museum is probably about a 20-minute […]

Remembrance of WWII in St. Petersburg

Throughout my program in Russia these past few months, the toll of the Second World War, has often been present and palpable. During World War II and the Great Fatherland War, the name Russians give the part of the war that took part on Soviet land, approximately 20-30 million Soviet men and women perished. Some […]

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 […]

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 by culture shock are those who did not expect to experience it. So how can you prepare to live in a new culture in order to get the most out […]

Icy Pastimes in Vladivostok

After a nice winter break and going home for the holidays, I have arrived back in Vladivostok. Unfortunately, I missed the big snowstorm here by a week or so, but there is still plenty of snow in heaps around the city and it is still quite cold here. Coming from a warmer climate like the American […]

Arrival at the Moscow State University Dorm

The Moscow State University dorm system has many buildings, but SRAS students usually live in the ones attached to the MSU main building, located between the University (Университет) metro station and the picturesque and historic Vorobyovy Gory (Воробьёвы горы), or Sparrow Hills.  The main building and connected dorms were constructed after World War II under […]

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: NGO Internship in St. Petersburg

For the past seven months I have been living and studying in St. Petersburg, Russia through the SRAS Russian Studies Abroad program. Through the program, SRAS was able to set me up with an internship in my field and support me throughout the process from the initial meeting with the organization, and checkups along the […]

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 […]

16 Ways Studying Abroad is Just Like Harry Potter

Did you ever stop to think about the fact that, technically, Harry Potter was also studying abroad? Here are 16 ways that Harry’s adventures are likely to be just like yours.   1. When you first decide you’re going abroad, you’re in a state of shock- you can hardly believe it’s real! 2. Getting on […]

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 Things You Should Know About Georgia

Study abroad in Georgia is a great experience. Here are several pluses and minuses to heading abroad to this great country in the Caucasus with a rich culture, history, and fabulous cuisine. 1. Hospitality Culture I CANNOT speak enough to this point. I know almost every country boasts of its warm and gracious people, but […]

The Waves of Studying Abroad

Studying abroad is an ocean of experience, of feeling, of emotion. Vast, sometimes turbulent, other times calm. Now, I’m expecting that rush of questions about experience, culture differences, and life when I return home. I’ve been thinking about how I will explain what I did and how I felt. And I realized that, for me, […]

Central Asian Bazaars: A Comparative Study

When I stand in bazaars in these foreign lands, I feel myself to be standing inside their beating hearts as well. To me, the bazaar is the face of the country, and nothing like how a bazaar is run, what is sold, what kind of social customs and behavior to provide a better understanding of […]

15 Signs You Studied Abroad in Russia

Everyone knows the signs of a post-study abroad collegiate: constantly comparing everything to your study abroad city, using every conversation as an excuse to talk about your lifechanging experience, compulsively scanning the web for cheap plane tickets hoping that someday you’ll have enough money to relive the glory days that were study abroad. If you […]

7 Ways Study Abroad is a Second Childhood

After settling in with a host family in Ukraine, I’ve looked back on my notes from my first couple of weeks abroad and come to a realization – in a lot of ways, Abroad-Olivia is a child, just a little bit bigger. I’ve compiled these notes to make a list of seven reasons why living […]

6 Biggest Culture Shocks in Russia

Moving to a different country is hard. You will probably experience culture shock and will definitely have your ups and downs. Here’s a list of challenges you can expect to run into while you adjust to Russia. 1. Language This is a no-brainer, but I couldn’t leave it off the list! I strongly advise learning […]

My Own Silk Road

Well, my time has expired in this part of the world, and with a bittersweet goodbye I part ways with Kyrgyzstan, her land and her people. Such things have happened in the time that I have been here since January with the Central Asian Studies program, and I can’t in good conscience say that I […]

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