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St. Petersburg, Russia – New Friendships

Context: In the summer of ’09 after my sophomore year at college I studied abroad for 8 weeks in St. Petersburg, Russia. I frequently wrote updates home (once a week), and this is one of those updates. I am adding this here because this is our travel website and I want it to be a collection of our travels, however, it’s important to know that I wrote these years ago without the intention of them ever being part of a travel website. They are not representative of our future work, but maybe you will enjoy reading them and get a taste of what it can be like to study abroad. Hope you enjoy!

 

Pasha's Birthday - St. Petersburg, Russia

Pasha's Birthday - St. Petersburg, Russia

Recently I attended Pasha’s birthday party. He turned 19. It was only me, this other girl from the program, an American we know, and three Russian people, one of which is my other Russian friend Natasha. It is pretty unbelievable to think that we only met a couple of weeks ago, and now I was at his birthday party. We didn’t do anything special, as Pasha had apparently lost a considerable sum of money betting on the Netherlands to win the soccer game. Still, it was a good time and an experience unlike anything previous because we went further outside of St. Petersburg. Even better, you don’t have to feel guilty about going out on a Monday night, since we only speak in Russian, it’s really good practice and much better than if I was at home reading Russian books in English.

The rest of the days have been passing pretty regularly. Right now I’m at the 3 week mark. My Russian is definitely improving, though I want to make sure it is improving at the maximum rate that it can, which is why I’m always looking for more Russian people to hang out with. Luckily, every person has Russian friends assigned by the university, and we often share them, and I have met a few others in my travels. On Monday I’m going to the movies with my friend’s Russian friends, etc. One thing I’ve noticed that I believe is a good sign is a heightened ability to understand random conversations on the street.On the weekends Love goes to her Dacha (kind of like a cape house, though less extravagant). So Dan and I usually have the place to ourselves, which has its pluses and minuses. On the one hand, we don’t get to speak Russian as much on the weekends, though we try to speak with each other when possible. On the other hand, it’s nice to not feel so much like a guest in the house, since no one is looking over your shoulder. It’s nice to be waited on, but in the end I’d just assume do things myself because you don’t feel like you’re imposing that way. What else is nice is that we are right in the center and people often sleep here since they live too far away. I checked with Love though, she doesn’t care if Americans stay over. Other than that, everything is pretty regular. My Literature class bothers me a bit because I feel like the reading distracts me from what I really want to be doing while I’m here; learning Russian. Also just general things about literature classes that I can’t stand.

Petersburg Rooftop - St. Petersburg, Russia

Petersburg Rooftop - St. Petersburg, Russia

Want to read more about Dave’s Study Abroad Program in St. Petersburg, Russia?
Letter 1: St. Petersburg, Russia – Arriving in Foreign Territory
Letter 2: St. Petersburg, Russia – Starting Class
Letter 3: St. Petersburg, Russia – The White Nights
Letter 4: St. Petersburg, Russia – Some Things Lost Some Things Gained
Letter 5: St. Petersburg, Russia – New Friendships
Letter 6: St. Petersburg, Russia – Beach For July 4th
Letter 7: St. Petersburg Study, Russia – phhh Piskov
Letter 8: St. Petersburg, Russia – End Of Days

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