Arrival in Kyiv: Homestay Experience

My arrival in Kyiv can be summed up in two words: CULTURE SHOCK! Driving into the city from the airport I saw dozens of Soviet-style apartment buildings. Rundown and leftover from the Cold War, they were 20-storey-tall, real-life pieces of history that I had only ever read of in books and seen in pictures. I […]

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My Home Stay Family Experience in Kyiv, Ukraine

When I was preparing to study abroad, one of the hardest decisions I had to make was where I was going to live: with a host family or in the dorms. This was a topic that I pondered over for weeks, trying to weigh the pros and cons of both options. Several of my friends […]

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 […]

The Art of Daily Practice and Conversations

It’s a little bit surprising to look at the calendar and think that half of my first semester in Vladivostok is already gone. Seven weeks seem to have effortlessly drifted by in strict contention with my own efforts at learning the Russian language. I can say that my knowledge of Russian when I arrived in […]

A Weekend at the Dacha

During my Russian studies at Indiana University over the past two years, the concept of a “dacha” or Soviet-era summer home always intrigued me. While my family has taken multiple vacations during which we stayed in cabins in Indiana or the Great Smoky Mountains, we—like most Americans—were happy to return to our permanent home. Yet […]

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