A Trip to Ulan-Ude from Irkutsk

As part of our SRAS program in Irkutsk, our group took a trip to Ulan Ude, a city about an eight hour train ride east, on the other side of Lake Baikal. Ulan Ude is the center of Buryatia, a republic within Russia that is the homeland of the Buryat people. The Buryats are native […]

Irkutsk’s Green Line Self-Guided Walking Tour

The “green line” is a self-guided tour of Irkutsk, which goes around the center of the city with several stops along it. The path is about 5k long, and can take anywhere from 2-3 hours, or even a whole day if you were to stop at even half the museums it passes. I found this […]

Poznaya 38 in Irkutsk: Traditional Local Fast Food

Poznaya 38 is a chain of restaurants across Irkutsk that has a variety of Russian, Central Asian, and Buryat foods. It is very inexpensive, very fast, and the best part, very tasty! Meals here run 300-500 rubles ($4-8). There are several locations all around the city, and there are two within a 5 minute walk […]

Taltsy Museum and Listvyanka: A Day Trip from Irkutsk

A few days after arriving in Irkutsk, SRAS took us on a day trip that went first to the Taltsy Architecture and Ethnography Museum, and then to Listvyanka, a small town on Lake Baikal. Located about an hour drive away from the city towards the lake, Taltsy is an open-air museum that features different types […]

Olkhon Weekend Trip from Irkutsk

One weekend, my two friends and I decided to take a weekend trip to Olkhon. The planning for the trip was overall very simple! The best way to the island is to take a marshrutka (a small bus). The trip will take about six hours and cost 600-1000 rubles ($9-15) each way. If you have […]

Irkutsk: Student Budgets and Logistics

Students in Irkutsk report spending about $35-50 a week average over the course of their stay. This covers groceries, eating at the university cafeteria, city transport, an occasional meal out, school supplies, mo dest weekend entertainment, and other general living expenses. Note that this guide assumes 65 rubles = 1 US dollar. Prices current as […]

Staying Kosher in Irkutsk

Having grown up Jewish, I stopped eating pork when I was around 5, and have not eaten it since then. Coming to Irkutsk, I was very curious to see if not eating pork would be a challenge, or if it would be simple to avoid. Spending six weeks in Siberia, I have realized that a […]

SRAS Guide to Living in Irkutsk

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 […]

A Manicure in Irkutsk

Back in the States, I’ve gotten enough manicures to know the difference between a good one and a bad one. Or at least that’s what I had thought until I came to Russia. A few days into being in Irkutsk I realized I needed to get one, and decided to call around to a few […]

Dacha, Banya, and Buryat Cooking Party: SRAS Excursion in Irkutsk

On a bright and sunny Thursday afternoon, SRAS took our group and headed about 30 minutes north of the city to a dacha owned by a friend of the academic coordinator of our program. A dacha is place located away from the city that generally has a small home, a plot of land, and sometimes […]

Hard-to-Find Foods in Russia

In 2005, when this resource was first developed, supermarket chains in Russia were only first developing. Brand and product selection, while perhaps normal for a post-Soviet location, was disappointing and monotonous for most visitors. The restaurant scene, even in places like Moscow and St. Petersburg, also felt underdeveloped. Of the three things commonly looked for […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 – […]

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 […]

SRAS Program Review: A Full Year in Irkutsk

My first semester in Irkutsk, I did the Russian and the Environment program, which is Russian language classes paired with environmental studies. I arrived in Irkutsk the very end of August and began classes at the start of September. My Russian classes were 3 hours per day starting at 8:30 or 10:10 depending on the day. […]

Trip to Zhemchug from Irkutsk

Sometimes one gets the urge to travel but going far away can be expensive and time consuming. Zhemchug (Жемчуг) is the perfect place for a cheap, fun, and quick weekend getaway. Located about 3-4 hours away from Irkutsk it can be easily reached by bus or marshrytka. Zhemchug is a beautiful rural village 30 minutes […]

Khinkalnaya Georgian Restaurant in Irkutsk

Khinkalnaya is a Georgian restaurant in downtown Irkutsk. Located walking distance from the university in the 130thDistrict this is the perfect place for a get together with friends for a fun evening or to grab a bite after shopping at Modniyy Kvartal. While the prices are a bit higher than the standard meal in Irkutsk, […]

Bar Dekabrist in Irkutsk

Located downtown and a short walk from the central market is The Decembrist’s Bar or Bar Dekabrist. This local hangout is perfect for a night out with friends. The atmosphere is quite different from that of most other local bars and is more of a “hipster” vibe with a very comfy feeling. It is also […]

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. […]

Trip to Arshan from Irkutsk

Arshan is a village located in the Republic of Buryatia about 3 hours away from Irkutsk. Arshan is known for many things but mainly for hiking and a source of natural spring water (минеральныйисточник). Arshan is a great idea for a weekend or a three day weekend if one gets the sudden urge to travel. […]

Russian Banya in Irkutsk

One of the most relaxing ways to spend time with friends and rid yourself of some stress is visiting a Russian banya. Not only is this beneficial to one’s health, but it is also a great way to experience one of Russia’s fun traditions. A banya traditionally consists of three rooms: the pre-bath room, the […]

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 […]

Trip to Sakhyurta

One of my favorite trips so far while I’ve been abroad in Russia has been my weekend stay in Sakhyurta. Sakhyurta is a small village located directly on the shore of Lake Baikal, walking distance from the southernmost point of Olkhon Island. Because we went in the middle of winter we could walk to Olkhon […]

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 Heading 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 opportunity for extra travel – planning extended layovers can allow you to see […]

Maslenitsa Through the Eyes of American Students, 2018

On February 17, squares, avenues and parks in every corner of Russia celebrated Maslenitsa, a traditional Russian holiday that marks the imminent end of winter with mountains of hot, delicious blini and revelry. Originally a pagan holiday celebrated as early as the 2nd century A.D., Maslenitsa has been somewhat folded into Orthodox Christian traditions and […]

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 […]

New Year’s Celebrations in Irkutsk

One of the most amazing things I’ve done in Russia is to celebrate the New Year here. This is Russia’s main holiday. In Russia, Christmas (celebrated on Jan 7 rather than Dec 25) is a religious holiday without gifts and parties. The New Year is more like our Christmas and when the Russian version of […]

Ice Skating in Irkutsk

There are many great things about living in Siberia, but one of my favorites would be constant access to ice skating around October-March. There are several rinks both indoor and outdoor at varying costs, but the best two I have found so far are Ice People, Law School Rink, and a small rink on Ulaan […]

1 2 3 5
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!