Sunday, July 17, 2016

DITL: Russian Summer School

 A Day in the Life: Russian Summer School

6:30 AM: Wake up and make the bed.

7:30 AM: If not feeling too lazy, join a few other students for a run at the local track.

8:15 AM: Breakfast + quick Skype call with D.

8:40 AM: Wash up.

9 AM: Head off to Russian classes.

The classes are just hours and hours of doing worksheets together. The teachers were promoted as "specially trained in teaching Russian to foreigners!" but... yeah. We take turns reading worksheets out loud sentence by sentence, or we fill in the declensions of nouns over and over again.

1 PM: Lunch in the student cafeteria.

It's nothing fancy, but it's cheap and filling. I still love stolovayas! When randomly picking out items, the lunches usually costs around $3 USD. There's also the комплексный обед option- pick up a neon-green laminated sign and the ladies behind the counter will give you a pre-set meal (soup, salad, meat, potatoes, bread, tea) for $1.80 USD.

This is a комплексный обед + juice.
This is a meal I selected on my own. Their borsch cannot compete with D's borsch, though!

2 PM: Afternoon lectures start.

Lecture on Russian music.
Lecture on "the Russian soul".

3:30 PM: Usually we have an excursion after the lecture. There's always some degree of chaos surrounding the excursions- for example, no one is told where to meet, or it'll turn out the whole thing has been rescheduled / cancelled. One trip this week was to visit a central bank, but the organizer somehow found out at the last minute that it takes 3 months of paperwork to get permission to visit... so no bank.

There's also a huge amount of waiting on the excursions- wait for a bus, wait for someone to open to door, wait for someone to call the big boss, wait for an interpreter- so fewer and fewer students have been coming to the afternoon sessions.

You could say that's perhaps the lesson of these afternoon excursions; nothing gets done in Russia without a bit of confusion, chaos, and waiting ;) Here's a look at some of the afternoon trips we've taken...

@ Minin Square
@ Nizhny's Kremlin
@ monastery
@ church
@ bike rental (the wait eventually got quite long and Yana and I abandoned this activity)
@ a local Christmas ornament factory
@ cable cars
One really cool thing about all the excursions we've done is that they're included in the price of the summer school itself (about $625 USD). Maybe the more expensive Russian language programs aren't so worksheet-centric, but I think the price of this particular program is really, really good.

@ city tour

Night: By the time we get back to campus, it's evening. The obvious and preferential choice is to hang out with other people, of course :p but basic things like cooking and doing laundry take more time than usual. We've got one shower for the entire floor, for example, so you need to either stake your place in line early or wait until it's creepily-late to cool off. The Foreigner Guards (ladies at the front desk) also do a little patrolling to make sure you're cleaning your room- sweeping, changing sheets, taking out the trash, etc. Both the front door and the kitchen are locked up at 11 PM. This policy enforces a communal bedtime. And somewhere in those hours, I'm trying to get my work hours done and write in this blog.

In short, the days here are pretty cool ;) And I'm ready to do it all again tomorrow.


  1. That cafeteria food looks like food from every Russian cafeteria I've eaten at! And the waiting... so annoying, but I don't think I've ever had it that bad. I just hate waiting in general.

    The city looks so beautiful. I hope I can make it!

  2. Очень инетересно:) А я еще подумала, ведешь ли ты блог или нет:)

    1. Привет Оля! Спасибо за комментарий :) Конечно, я еще здесь, еще пишу. Как твой блог?