New City, New Memories
Post by Sam Dane (’15) and Jessica Santiago (’15)
Upon our arrival in St. Petersburg, Russia, one thing was undeniably clear: we were no longer in China. Our Professor, Bill Coyle, was waiting for us with open arms at the airport, along with our incredibly knowledgeable tour guide, Sergey Fyodorov. Despite being such a drastically different environment from China, within just a week we’ve been able to adapt to our new city, mainly by wearing layers and being quiet on the metro. After meeting local students like ourselves in Professor Coyle’s class at St. Petersburg State University, our Russian network is already expanding.
We’ve had the pleasure of spending time with Provost Hanno , who celebrated his birthday this week. During a conference at the St. Petersburg Graduate School of Management, where we have been studying, our entire group surprised him with a cake and a beautiful rendition of “Happy Birthday.” The next night, we reserved an entire traditional Georgian restaurant with Provost Hanno. Since we have two classes here instead of just one, we’re all feeling a bit of pressure to stay on top of our work, and the night out was a great way to take our minds off of our studies. As we enjoyed various conversations during the meal, a woman began performing Georgian music, and the size of the venue was such that all conversations had to cease. The only option was to sing and dance, and even our professors and Provost Hanno got in on the action. If this situation had transpired the first week of our trip, we definitely would have been too shy to let loose and dance, but we’ve come a long way and are becoming more like a family every day. It was most unexpected, but a wonderful way to celebrate both Provost Hanno’s birthday and the near halfway point in our journey.
In the coming weeks we look forward to immersing ourselves deeper in the culture of St. Petersburg and spending time getting to know our new friends, enjoying authentic experiences in addition to typical tourist activities.