Privet! (Hello in Russian)

On the road again… well not really on the road, but on the seas again!

St. Petersburg was more fun and exciting and fascinating and interesting than I could have imagined. Going into the port, I didn’t know much about Russia; I was worried there wasn’t enough to do. But leaving, I was sad that I didn’t have enough time.

Typical Russian hat. I got in trouble for taking this picture right after my friend snapped the shot. Three times I was yelled at in Russian, but I didn’t understand a single word they were saying!

I planned the trip for my friends and I during our stay in St. Petersburg. We decided at the end of the time there, one of us is good at directions (Meghan,) one is good at decisions and asking for help from others (Rishika,) and I am good at making it an adventure. Basically saying I make it interesting because I get us lost and they get us back. We make a good team. :]

The first day we planned to go to the Hermitage, the popular museum that held Van Gogh, Claude Monet, and ancient Egyptian artifacts. We took the metro, which was an adventure on its own, and ended up on the complete other side of the city! Oops. But once we got there, it was worth it! Russian vodka was tried (sorry Mom) and it proved to be much more potent than vodka in the United States.

A real mummy! Shout out to my Anatomy friend, Barb! There were still pronator muscles near the elbow. Thousands of years old!!!

The next day, we went to a farmers market. We got there as planned! Wahoo! The workers were from the middle east and they kept asking me if I was from Turkey or somewhere. When I began to talk, they figured out I was American. One of the men had a special interest in me, and gave me free food. He also asked for a picture with me… strange. That night I bought a ticket to the Folkloric show, thinking I would do that instead of the Russian ballet. It was proving to be difficult and expensive to get tickets for the ballet, and I wanted some to see a show that demonstrated traditional Russian culture. It was FANTASTIC! They actually came out in the audience and chose me and another girl with SAS to dance on stage with them. The photography guy for SAS said he got some pictures of me, so keep a lookout for the SAS blog!

Lauren Judge and I with one of the dancers/singers.

The third day we toured the cathedrals and they were so gosh darn beautiful! Gold-plated everything and gorgeous chandeliers hanging from the 61-meter ceilings was breathtaking. The church of Spilled Blood was the traditional Russian architecture with the onion-shaped domes and complete mosaic on the inside. Stunning. Then, we heard from someone that we could buy Russian ballet tickets for $37! No way! It was the swan princess too. Oh, so beautiful! What was cool is that people from all languages, cultures, and countries could understand the dancing and storyline. That is impressive.

Juergen was enjoying the beautiful sunshine. Supposedly Russia only has 30-40 days of sunshine, and we got to experience 4 of them! How cool!

The last day, I had a field lab for my history class, and it was SUPER interesting! Background information: history has always been my least favorite class. Growing up, I thought that the material was pointless and the dates and information never matched up. However, going to the political science museum and Peter and Paul’s Fortress where they housed revolutionary prisoners who tried to protest in the communist era. Learning about their government’s background made me anxious to learn more! Maybe it was connecting it with actual experience in and with the country; but I hope learning about each country is that exciting!

So, overall, Russia was a hit, my classes have been a hit, and making friends have been a hit!

Spaciba, (Thank You in Russian)


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About Kait Squanda

Semester at Sea is a study abroad program sponsored by University of Virginia. It is a cruise liner made specifically for college students, professors, hall directors, and lifelong learners to experience a hands-on learning atmosphere around the world. My voyage will be traveling to 15 countries: Russia, Germany, Belgium, France, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Ghana, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, and Cuba. WIth some stops before-hand, it is bound to be a trip of a lifetime!

5 thoughts on “Privet! (Hello in Russian)

  1. 1.) Were you able to understand any written Russian? Like on signs or public transit? Some places that I went I was able to figure out bits and pieces, and then some places I understood none of it and it seemed like alien writing.

    2.) I bet the guy at the Middle Eastern market who wanted his picture with you wanted to marry you. In fact, I’m shocked you didn’t get a marriage proposal. You should expect to get those in Africa when you get there.

    3.) I told you that you’d meet some awesome people and that making friends would be easy. :)

    4.) Did you hear/see/read anything while you were there about all the new anti LGBTQ laws Russian has passed?

    5.) I’m so glad you’re having an amazing time. I’m super jealous.

    6.) HUGS

    • Willard!

      I have a few moments before my train arrives, so I can answer some questions.

      1.)Russian language is VERY difficult to understand. It is cryllic, so nothing really like our alphabet. But after seeing the signs multiple days, I got used to some of the words–they started looking familiar.

      2.) haha, no proposal. I’ll be on the lookout though!

      3.) :]

      4.) There was a TON about the LGBTQ laws. We had a specific talk about it before port. I didn’t see a lot of violence or protest, but we were told to be safe and respectful. If we weren’t, we could’ve ended up in jail.

      5.) I MISS YOU ALL! And thank you for doing this for me!! You rock!

      Chelsea and Barb, thank you for reading this!! I wish I could read about your adventures, Chelsea!!

      See you soon!

  2. Kait!!! I’m so glad you are having an amazing time!!! Thanks for the shout-out… Brings back memories :) I hope you continue to have safe travels and incredible adventures! I miss you!

  3. I am so glad you loved Russia! I am sure it is beautiful there. It sounds like you are living quite the adventure!! I am so happy for you. Love you and God bless you <3

  4. Kait! It looks like you are having a wonderful time! Your pictures look awesome and you look beautiful like always. I cannot wait for you to get back so I can hear about everything :) Lots of hugs and prayers headed your way! <3

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