My name’s Georgia, and I am going into third year as a French, Spanish and Russian student! I have continued my role as Russian editor at the Linguist this year, and I’ve also picked up the Life and Style section. I can’t wait to get stuck in!
I find it hard to believe that it’s been a year since I went to Russia – it feels like yesterday! I was so lucky to have been sent to St Petersburg with all the other first year Russian beginners, for a month-long trip subsidised by the university. I wish every language offered it, as I know I will look back on it as a highlight of my degree!
The trip was eventful to say the least – on arriving at the airport my suitcase had been lost (along with four others) and after queueing for hours, filling out forms and liaising with airport staff, I arrived at my host’s flat at 11pm with nothing but a rucksack! Thankfully I was greeted by the friendly face of my host, as well as some borscht to make it a truly Russian welcome.
My host was absolutely incredible, plying me with multiple breakfasts every day and homemade snacks for my day trips. I definitely did not starve! She also gave me one St Petersburg postcard every morning, on which I had to write about my plans for the day in Russian. At the end of the month she gave me all of them in a little pack, which was the most lovely thing because I had my own little diary to remember my trip by (as well as remember how much better my Russian is now!). The whole family definitely did everything they could to make me feel welcome, and I would love to see them again one day.
My friends and I saw every possible thing we could. After our daily Russian lessons at the Higher School of Economics, we would visit various tourist hotspots like St Isaac’s Cathedral or the Hermitage, but also lesser known places such as Sevcable Port, where we ate gyros overlooking the Gulf of Finland, or a karaoke bar where my friends and I sang Super Trooper to a crowd of emo fans (perhaps we should have catered to our audience, but who doesn’t love ABBA). At the end of the month we even watched Swan Lake performed at the Alexandrinsky Theatre, which was an incredible experience!
We made the most of every single day, and it taught me how I want all my future travel experiences to be. Now I would much rather go to a country for a month or more, as you get to know every nook and cranny, and the entire experience challenges you. This was the most daunting trip of my life, but absolutely the best one! And now I am so looking forward to *what’s left of* my year abroad…