Finding a Good Hot Chocolate in Moscow

The walk from the Курская metro station to where our classes were held at HSE is lined with a number of small cafes and convenience stores. Typical of the average college student, we often stopped in one of these cafes on our way to class. Below are my reviews of the three cafes most frequented […]

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Russian State Library in Moscow

During our last week in Moscow, two of my friends and I decided to check out Russia’s State Library. Located just a few blocks from Red Square, Библиотека имени Ленина (The Lenin Library) is the world’s second largest library and houses over forty-six million items. We were interested in the library not only as a […]

Catholicism in Moscow

In coming to Moscow, I understood that I probably wouldn’t be able to attend church every Sunday, but I was looking forward to exploring the Catholic Church in a different country. I figured there would be services available in both English and Russian, and so I planned on attending Mass in English first to get […]

Stopping to Smell the Roses in Moscow and St. Petersburg

By far one of my favorite pastimes is taking pictures of flowers. I love capturing their temporal beauty, as well as appreciating their many varieties in species, size, and color. Below are just four of the many places flowers thrive in Saint Petersburg and Moscow.   VDNKh (Moscow) I first noticed the beauty of the […]

Sampling the Performance Arts in Moscow

Moscow is a globally recognized center for the performing arts. The city hosts multiple venues for opera, ballet, music, and drama—so many, in fact, that choosing from them can be difficult. Also, many students from small towns may not have been to these types of cultural institutions before – many tend to exist primarily in […]

Kotissimo Cat Cafe in Moscow

On a rainy Friday afternoon in late June, a few of my friends and I decided to brave the weather to check out one of Moscow’s many cat cafes. Kotissimo, the largest such cafe in the city, is located slightly outside the ring of metro stations that make up the city center. After a brief […]

Five Moscow Metro Stations Worth Seeing

Much more than just the city’s premier mode of transportation, the Moscow Metro is a tourist attraction in its own right. Each station is unique, and as new ones continue to be added, they represent over 60 years of styles and history. Below I have spotlighted five of the most interesting stations I saw during […]

Masha’s Dacha: Cultural Excursion in Moscow

What do you expect from your experience when you come to Russia? When I first traveled here two years ago, I wanted to learn about the average Russian’s life and how they lived. I wanted to take part in their everyday activities, and I desired to make a connection with the Russian people. Unfortunately, I […]

Tour of the Moscow Kremlin, State Armoury, and the Cathedral of Christ the Savior

As part of our SRAS cultural program, we were given the opportunity to take a tour of the Kremlin, a popular symbol of the Russian government. We met our guide outside of Red Square before walking along the Kremlin walls to the visitors’ entrance. She pointed out the swallowtail merlons bordering the wall, a design […]

The Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines in Moscow

Our last program excursion took us back to VDNKh park, where we had enjoyed the Russia Day festivities a month before. The Museum of Soviet Arcade Machine is a small, out-of-the-way nook located on the first floor of one of the park’s several famous pavilions. Museum attendance was sparse that day, meaning the exhibit was […]

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, […]

Meeting All Seven Sisters In Moscow

Spread throughout the city of Moscow are seven imposing buildings, called variously “The Seven Sisters” or “Stalin’s Skyscrapers.” While visiting Moscow as part of my study abroad experience to St. Petersburg, I wound up setting off on an unexpected mission to see them all that also helped show me much more of this fascinating and […]

The Legacy of Alexander Pushkin in Moscow and St. Petersburg

In Anna Melikian’s 2015 film Pro Lyubov (About Love), a film divided into vignettes focusing on modern love ala Love Actually, one of the vignettes focuses on a young woman from Japan who comes to Russia due to her love of Russian literature. While in Russia she hopes to find a Russian boyfriend. She goes […]

Central Asian Evening in Moscow

During our weekend trip to Moscow organized by SRAS our time was filled with tours and events. These appealed to a wide variety of interests and represented a wide variety of aspects related to modern Russian culture. One of the most interesting excursions took place over the course of an evening—beginning with a visit to […]

The Cultural Legacy of Peredelkino, a Day Trip from Moscow

It’s an exceptionally warm winter day in Peredelkino, a former writers’ village just 20 minutes from Moscow by commuter train. I have the pleasure of going on another well- organized and informative SRAS-arranged Bridge to Moscow tour to visit this iconic place. Peredelkino is a village with wide-ranging cultural value, from its status as a […]

Moscow From Above and Below Tour

For an interesting take on the history and geography of Moscow, SRAS organized a “Moscow from Above and Below” tour. Both local Moscow students and students visiting for the weekend from SRAS programs in St. Petersburg joined. The tour consisted of a trip through the Novodevichy Cemetery followed by a gondola ride to the top […]

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 […]

SRAS Guide to Living in Moscow

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 – […]

Moscow: Student Budgets and Logistics

Students in Moscow report spending about $90-110 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, modest weekend entertainment, and other general living expenses. Note that this guide assumes 65 rubles = 1 US dollar. Prices current as of […]

Experiencing the 20th Century Through Art in the New Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

As you approach the New Tretyakov building, the cold February wind numbing your face, you look up and can’t help feeling dwarfed by the large modern-brutalist structure and the thought of the agglomeration of a century’s worth of artwork inside. Once you get past the imposing exterior, however, you are welcomed by a spacious and […]

Bulgakov Apartments and Museum

Sticking to my roots as a lover of literature and literary museums I had to take advantage of the opportunity to visit the Bulgakov house during my short visit to Moscow. This was one of my must see locations in the Russian capital, and lucky for me I was able to visit the museum as […]

Moscow to Riga – Weekend Trip

Moscow is a great place to explore, but sometimes getting out of the city is a must. Luckily Moscow is a centrally located travel hub connecting you to many great places for a weekend getaway, which can include, not only different cities within Russia, but cheap and direct flights to cities such as Helsinki, Tallinn, […]

Moscow’s Top Seven Parks

After long and grueling Russian winters, many Muscovites enjoy spending the summer months outside, strolling the many parks and shady sanctuaries scattered across the city. Moscow is a very green city and offers over 100 parks, squares, and public spaces to escape the city heat and the urban hustle of a city with over 12 […]

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, […]

Home and Abroad + RSL – One Year with SRAS

I’ve recently completed my year-long term as a Home and Abroad scholar with SRAS. The Home and Abroad program is an intensive intern-scholarship program that helps fund an SRAS study abroad program. Home and abroad enriched my study abroad experience by encouraging me to do extensive research before heading abroad, and requiring me to get out […]

The Golden Ring: Kostroma, Yaroslavl and Rostov Veliky from Moscow

The Golden Ring, a group of historic cities northeast of Moscow, is known for kremlins, monasteries and churches preserved from the 12th–18th centuries. There are eight principal cities (plus several more that have come, especially as tourism in Russia has grown, to market themselves as part of the Ring). Thus, it’s impossible to see it […]

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 Kazan from Moscow

After hearing my friends and professors rave about Kazan for months, a friend and I finally went from Thursday through Saturday during the last week of February. At a brisk -12C, it certainly could have been colder, but the wind did cause us to spend a little more time indoors. Nonetheless, Kazan lived up to […]

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 […]

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 […]

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