An old post

While writing my post-program reflection, I realize that I had accidentally forgotten to publish a post from July 10, initially intended to be my 2nd post. So, I’m posting it here in its original form, as my final “while abroad” post.

4th of July, Russian style

I may be in Russia, but that didn’t mean that the 4th of July wasn’t celebrated! My program consists of around 60 American students, so we wanted to find a way to celebrate that was still cognizant of our environment and location. The holiday fell on a Tuesday, so there was not much of a chance for organized activities. Around ten students, including myself and two Russians, went to an American-style karaoke bar in the city. The bar was about an even split between Americans and Russians, and all the Russians seemed very excited to meet Americans and take part in the foreign celebration.

The remainder of the week was fairly normal, as I have now settled into life in Saint Petersburg. My classes continued, and I am adjusting to the very forward (verging at times on condescending) style of my professor. He is a polyglot: he is a native speaker of Russian and Dutch, learned German and English at a young age, and is also conversational in Spanish and French. As a result, it seems, he has little tolerance for our struggles with what he views as easy parts of the language.

On Sunday the 9th, we celebrated the 4th of July more officially. Our program administrators organized a picnic for all of us students, as well as the program’s Russian volunteers and any local friends we brought along. We went to a park and ate, threw a frisbee, and enjoyed ourselves. There’s a more remarkable part to this story, however: we stumbled into the filming of a movie! We saw dozens of actors, mostly extras, in aristocratic dress gathering and film crews preparing the set. One of us asked one of the actors what the movie was, and apparently it was a movie about Tsar Nicholas II and his family, in honor of the 100-year anniversary of the Russian Revolution.