Living and learning
So…can you believe it’s almost the end of my fifth week in St. Petersburg? I definitely can’t- time is flying by so quickly this semester. Right now I’m in the library at school on a break between classes, so I figured I’d do a post about what I’m studying here and how my schedule works.
Every day, Monday through Friday I wake up at about 7:30, have breakfast with my host mom, get ready for the day and then commute about 45 minutes to Smolny Cathedral where I attend classes. Smolny Cathedral is home to the Saint Petersburg State University Center for Russian Language and Culture as well as the Faculty of Political Sciences. Smolny is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful buildings in St. Petersburg.
I mean, just look at it! It’s even more impressive up close. UVM has a gorgeous campus but not too many baby blue churches haha.
CIEE occupies one wing of the building where all of our classrooms are located. In addition to about six or seven classrooms, we have small library filled with both Russain and English books, a tea station, all sorts of games and sports equipment. Pretty much anything you could need during a break from classes. The CIEE program coordinators offices are also in the same hallway along with our as well as our announcement board. The announcement board is great in that the program directors keep an up to date calendar filled with info about upcoming trips, events etc; posted and it always has sign up sheets for things like excursions to a Russian banya or cooking classes. CIEE is great about organizing interesting things for us to do outside of the classroom.
I am taking a total of five classes here- Russian Literature, Conversation, Phonetics, Grammar and Russian/American Relations. Each class meets either two or three days a week. My schedule itself is very different than it is at my university because each class meets for an hour and thirty minutes at a time. It seems like a really long class period, but they are all interesting so time goes by quickly.
All of my classes are conducted entirely in Russian. My professors can speak English, but they never use it unless they need to explain an abstract concept. The fact that I am forced to learn all of this new material strictly in Russian has increased my overall comprehension. I feel completely immersed and it makes understanding everything much easier. I’m in the Intermediate group here which is exactly what I wanted. I definitely feel challenged each day, but that is what is helping me improve so much.
Well, my break is almost over- I have a grammar quiz next period so I need to do some last minute reviewing. Check back sometime next week for a post on transportation in St.Petersburg! Thanks for reading!