November 20, 2009
Student bloggers Emily and Drew report on their intensive study of the language and culture of Russia as part of SMU-in-Moscow in summer 2009. Their group visited St. Petersburg and Leo Tolstoy's home, and saw dance, opera and art in Moscow.
Emily (left) and Drew (right) blog about their studies and travels.
St. Petersburg truly does look like a "Northern Venice", as it is nicknamed, with canals running through the heart of the city and beautifully colorful 18th-century buildings lining the banks of the water. We went on a boat tour of the Neva River and its canals today and saw the city from the water. In the evening, we went to the beautiful Nikolaevsky Palace to see a folk show, "Feel Yourself Russian."
We had a late dinner at the Literary Cafe on the corner of Nevsky Prospect and the Moika and enjoyed live classic music as well as old, sad Russian romances. This cafe is known as the last cafe called in by the great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin just before his fatal duel. Another famous Russian writer, Fyodor Dostoevsky, composed some of his works here while sipping coffee and eating cakes. I really felt myself Russian today.
Read her blog.
Music has been an important part of my life and in my family, and the Russians come together and sing. Despite their turbulent history, they find a reason to get up in the morning and just sing. Whenever I visit my family in Los Angeles, I see elements of Russian culture through the value of family and friendships, hosting a music party just to sing and enjoy life, and cooking gollubsy (a Russian dish of meat and potatoes wrapped in cabbage) during Christmastime.
I have never felt an emotional connection for another country like I have for Russia. In 6 weeks, I fell in love with Moscow, St. Petersburg, the peculiarities of daily life, and the people. My glimpse of Russia in America is through my professor, Tatiana, and my Russian and Ukrainian friends with whom I practice speaking Russian. Studying Russian culture in Russia has dramatically crumbled any stereotypes I had about this country. I plan to pursue my minor in Russian Area Studies.
Read his blog.
Emily and Drew blogged for the SMU Adventures site, where students and faculty post news of their studies, service and travels around the world and at SMU. The site, which gets thousands of hits every month, is a great way to share stories and photos with the entire SMU community.