Weekend Trip to Tallinn from St. Petersburg

Study abroad is full of new experiences, from getting accustomed to the local culture and managing your courses. When you need a getaway, there is always an abundance of other Russian cities and sights to see. Although once your multi-entry visa is processed, Tallinn and other Baltic cities are readily accessible from Moscow and St. Petersburg. […]

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Minorities Abroad: Additional Resources

This site isn’t the only resource for minority students studying in Russia, Eurasia, and Eastern Europe! Below is a collection of interesting and useful sites from around the web, featuring videos, interviews, and much more. (Thanks to the many folks on ADSEEES and SEELANGS who have shared them!) If you’d like to suggest an additional […]

A Trip to Tsarskoye Selo from St. Petersburg

While my short stay in St. Petersburg was quickly dwindling down, I was determined to get to a few more places outside of the city. Next on my list was another former residence of the tsar though perhaps better known in its capacity as the formative lyceum of many a renowned Russian poet including the […]

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 […]

6 Ways to Beat the Heat During a Russian Summer

Russia isn’t known for being a particularly warm country, but summers can see many areas of Russia warm up to over 90 or 100 degrees Fahrenheit. St. Petersburg, nestled on the northern coast of the chilly Baltic Sea, has never recorded temperatures above 98 degrees. However, it is a city packed densely with people, cars, […]

12 Tips for Meeting Locals in St. Petersburg

One of the factors study abroad returnees quote as most highly influential in their experience is the relationships they make with locals. The benefits of making friends with Russians are far-reaching, including everything from language practice to having a couch to crash on next time you’re in town. The following is a list of places […]

Day Trip to Kronstadt

One of the best things about living in St. Petersburg is the ring of interesting day trip destinations that lay in the city’s suburbs. One of my favorite places to escape the hustle of the city is the town of Kronstadt. About 30 km west of the city center, Kronstadt is located on the island […]

Day Trip to Gatchina

One of the best things about living in St. Petersburg is the ring of interesting day trip destinations that lay in the city’s suburbs. Gatchina is the name of an 18th century Imperial Palace built on the order of Catherine the Great and the town where it is located. The best way to get to […]

Black Bread: Professional Network of Black Russian Speakers

Black Bread is a professional network of Black Russian-speakers. Black Bread members are based primarily in New York City & Washington, DC, but many reside throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. They represent a wide range of career fields – academia, non-profit & private sectors, government, the arts, intelligence, and more – yet are […]

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 […]

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 […]

10 Differences Between Moscow and Saint Petersburg

“Moscow is the heart, and Saint Petersburg is the head” -This Russian saying was popularized in the time of Peter the Great and references Moscow’s place as the central upholder of Russian traditions while Saint Petersburg looks west into the social and scientific developments of the future. Is it still applicable today? – You decide. […]

Adventures in Red-tape Land: Applying for Temporary Residency in Russia

A week ago I made the best decision of my life and married a guy whose zest for life, enduring optimism, and open-mindedness completely won me over during the course of our courtship . Said guy also happen to be Russian, which as anyone involved in an international relationship know, complicates things from a legal […]

Christine Jacobson: Russia, Kyrgyzstan, the US, and Back Again

Christine Jacobson graduated from Stetson University in Florida with degrees in political science and Russian studies. She studied with SRAS on a custom program in St. Petersburg in 2011. She currently lives and works in Moscow, but is hoping to attend graduate school in the fall of 2014. SRAS: You worked for a year as […]

Jessica in St. Petersburg

  Minorities Abroad Project Name: Jessica Destination: St. Petersburg, Russia Time abroad: Summer 2013 Ethnic Self-identification: African-American   The First Day I remember the first day very clearly when I look at the following picture: Why was the first picture I ever took in St. Petersburg, Russia a lilac bush? Because I was scared on […]

Annie in St. Petersburg

Minorities Abroad Project Name: Annie Choi Destination: St. Petersburg, Russia Time Abroad: Spring 2009 Ethnic Self-identification: Korean-American (Photo by Elise Bergerson) My ethnicity had a profound effect on my experience of Russia even before I set foot in the country.  I remember the trepidation that filled the weeks leading up to my decision to study […]

Morgan in St. Petersburg

Minorities Abroad Project Name: Morgan Jerkins Destination: St. Petersburg, Russia Time Abroad: Summer 2012 Ethnic Self-identification: African-American My name is Morgan Jerkins and I am a rising senior in the Comparative Literature department of Princeton University where I “specialize” in 19th century Russian Literature and 20th century Japanese Literature. I am an African-American woman who […]

Crystal in St. Petersburg

Minorities Abroad Project Name: Crystal Farmer Destination: St. Petersburg, Russia Time Abroad: Summer 2006 Ethnic Self-identification: African-American I was a self contained tourist attraction in Russia. In the midst of me worrying about how to conjugate the word stop and what to do with kopecks, I had to worry about how I represented the entire […]

Returning Home after Five Months in St. Petersburg

As part of its September issue, the Russian edition of Esquire magazine turned its focus from celebrities to “ordinary people,” including Vasily Ilyn, a retired farmer from a village in rural Russia. The issue includes an interview with him and a handful of other “ordinary” Russians for Esquire’s ПРАВИЛА ЖИЗНИ series, or “Rules of Life.” […]

Culture Shock: Living with other international students

Most of us probably knew we were in for inevitable culture shock when we arrived in Russia, no matter how much we had convinced ourselves we were prepared. Sometimes it comes on quick, but other times culture shock reveals itself incredibly slowly. It took longer for this to sink in, but one of the ways […]

The Trouble with English

Before heading to St. Petersburg, SRAS coordinator, April Djakoniya, asked each of us to write down any volunteer opportunities we wanted to pursue. When studying Russian in America, one of the most helpful resources for me was native speaker volunteers, who were willing to sit through my poor Russian speaking and still always be very […]

Couch Surfing to New Friends in St. Petersburg

We try to anticipate everything before we head abroad – Where will I live? What kind of clothes do I need to bring? Where will I go if I get sick? What kind of transportation will be available in the city? But there’s also a more obvious question that we may forget about until we […]

Shopping and Miscommunication in St. Petersburg

My first two days in Russia were spent rationing the granola bars, dried fruit, and airplane pretzel packets I had brought with me in my carry-on bag. This was despite the fact that I have not one, but two markets within a five-minute walk from my dorm. One is even open 24 hours. What accounted […]

Ideas of What’s Rude and Polite in Russia

If you’re like me, you tried to prepare for life in a foreign country by researching important ways the new culture differs from your home culture. While research can shed light on some of the more obvious differences, many nuances are skipped over, and can only be considered when in a real-life situation. Each culture […]

Kyra Gordon: God, Guns, and Russia

Kyra Gordon is an International Program Management Specialist, working with US Army contacts to sell weapons systems to US allies. A long-time Russia-enthusiast, her experiences abroad have been long and varied, ranging from missionary and charity work, working professionally in Russia, earning a degree there, and receiving several US-government-sponsored funding opportunities to help her along […]

Bradley Gorski: Study Abroad as a Two-Way Street

Bradley Gorski holds a degree in Russian from Georgetown University. Since graduation he has been living in St. Petersburg and Moscow, Russia, working as the Russia Country Coordinator for EducationUSA. He plans to apply for Ph.D. programs in Slavic Studies to start fall 2011. His research interests are Nabokov, post-Soviet literature and the interplay between linguistics […]

Jess Rivet: Canadian Goalie in Russia

Interview by Lisa Horner, Program Consultant, Institutional Relations. Jess Rivet was a powerhouse during her full year (2009-2010) of Russian as a Second Language (RSL) through The School of Russian and Asian Studies (SRAS). She was always out doing something, whether meeting locals and going to concerts, helping her fellow students, and even playing hockey […]

Stephanie Briggs: To Russia with a Very Big Stick

Stephanie Briggs is a disabled student with hydrocephalus and mild cerebral palsy. These conditions reduce her mobility and are a source of chronic pain. Despite this, she has completed a BA in Russian Studies and is now perusing a MA in Translation. She also travelled to and toured Russia in 2003. SRAS: Despite your guide books […]

Renee Stillings: SRAS Program Director, Business Woman, Mother

Renee Stillings has been the Program Director for SRAS since 1996. She is also a co-founder of Alinga Consulting Group and a board member of the US-Russia Chamber of Commerce of New England.  All pictures (and captions) submitted by Renee Stillings. SRAS: When did you first become interested in Russia? Renee Stillings: In high school. I was already taking all […]

Interview with Chet Bowling: Business and Racism in Russia

Chet Bowling holds an MA in Law from the Russian People’s Friendship University in Russia and an MBA from Kingston University in the United Kingdom. He co-founded Alinga Consulting Group, a business providing accounting, legal, and audit services mostly to foreign firms. He has lived in Russia for nearly nineteen years, where he is now married […]

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