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And so it begins...

My first impressions of St.Petersburg?

 I absolutely love it here. It really is far better than I had even imagined. There is always something interesting to see or a new place to go visit or explore and I love the sense of adventure that comes with learning my way around the city. The thing that stands out to me the most, is St.Petersburg’s beauty. I swear, even the most boring little convenience store can look like a work of art from the outside here. The majority of the architecture is nothing short of amazing. Even my school is a giant baby blue and white cathedral, decorated with cherubs and gold plating. There are no skyscrapers or highrises here, just rows upon rows of classic looking buildings painted in an array of different (but always muted) colors. It is hard to do describe St.Petersburg and manage to do it any justice but you’re all gonna just have to trust me on this one: it’s gorgeous. Not to mention the cultural scene here is fantastic: There are literally hundreds of museums, theatres, cathedrals, restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs…and I want to go to all of them. Its a problem. There is always something going on in this city, no matter what time it is and I love it. I’ve all ready had a ton of really interesting experiences and met a lot of great people since I’ve been here. It would take forever for me to explain everything I’ve seen and done so far so here are some of the highlights:

The one and only complaint I have so far is: the cold. Apparently, February in Russia is known for being the most bitterly cold of all the months. I was entirely unaware of this before coming here and having known what I know now I would have probably filled an extra suitcase with scarves, hats and gloves. So my word of advice for anyone looking to study abroad in St.Petersburg- bring lots of warm clothes and accessories! Luckily temperatures rise really quickly once it hits March here so I only have a couple more days to deal!

Besides for the bitter cold i am LOVING it here. It sounds totally cheesy but every day really is more fun than the one before it. The people on my program are amazing and I’ve made alot of new friends all of whom I really enjoy spending time with. Every single person on this trip is super friendly and nice. And everyone has a great sense of humor- I feel like you HAVE to in order to deal with the Russian language/living in Russia, so it makes for a really good time. My classes are really interesting and I love my homestay. All in all, I am so glad I chose CIEE, I couldn’t have asked for a better program!

PS: Check out this link- This photo set is entitiled “St.Petersburg as we have never seen it before” and it is full of the most BEAUTIFUL pictures of the city. Love it. 




St.Petersburg, Russia.

Russia’s cultural capital, Window to the West, Venice of the North, all of the above. It is a city full of beauty, paradox, adventure and mystery.

St.Petersburg, actually, Russia in general- is as mystifying to me as it was on my first day of Russian class at age thirteen. Yes, I have what I believe to be a comfortable grasp on the language, a working knowledge of Russian history and an deep appreciation for Russian culture. However, not a single one of these facts change my understanding of Russia as a whole.

Winston Churchill once said that “Russia, is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” How could a country with such a long and complex history and deeply entrenched cultural values be anything less than mysterious? Today, a mere 35 days before I embark upon my 5 months Study Abroad Program at St.Petersburg State University, these words could not resound any more deeply within me. 

In the weeks before my trip, it feels as if Russia itself is trying to remind me of this fact. Upon arriving in St.Petersburg, I will not even meet my host family or find out my home address for at least a week. 

Despite all the mystery surrounding it, I am more excited to stay in St.Petersburg than I have ever been for anything in my life. While I simply cannot fathom the experiences I will have while I am there, I have spent the majority of my academic career preparing for this trip and I am ready for anything that comes my way. I become more curious with each passing day and at this point I cannot wait to immerse myself in the challenges and life lessons that await me.