Laughing Hens and Silent Cows

Back by popular demand, here are some more widely-used and wonderful Russian sayings, this time all following the theme of animals. Enjoy! Чья бы корова мычала, а твоя бы молчала Корова is the Russian for cow, and what do cows do? They either moo – мычать, or stay silent – молчать. Thus, whose cow would moo, and yours would stay silent. In ancient Rus’ there was often drought which was blamed on the sins of humans. How to appease God? The extremely religious population came to the conclusion that if God did not want to listen to people, then he would listen to the livestock. Thus, when the threat of drought became apparent, shepherds stopped feeding their herd so that the cows would moo more, sending cries for help to God. So, this expression was born, to be addressed to those with f ...

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4 reasons to visit Vasilyevsky Island

Vasilyevsky Island, or “Васька” as it is known to the locals, is frequently visited by tourists but some parts are more popular than others. The most touristic area is found around the beautiful Dvortsoviy bridge that connects the island with the mainland, just a stone’s throw from the Hermitage and a few minutes walk from Peter and Paul’s fortress on Zayachy Island. Although the embankment offers a great view of the river and has some beautiful buildings to show for, one should not limit a visit to the island only to this part. Here are four reasons to visit Васька: The food stalls around Primorskaya On the way out of the metro station, which marks the western endpoint of green line, there is nothing that really catches the eye. At least nothing that will cheer you ...

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5 things never to say or do in Russia

We have already talked about Russian superstitions in our blog before (check the article here), but there are also other interesting Russian habits that you certainly will experience when travelling in this country. Sometimes, it’s better to learn what NOT to do if you want to fit in or at least produce a good impression to your Russian friends or to Russian people in general. But don’t worry! In this article, you will find a short list of the most common social taboos that will help you not to make a bad impression. DON’T COME TO VISIT EMPTY-HANDED If you’re invited for dinner or you’re just visiting your Russian friends, don’t show up empty-handed. Flowers are usually much appreciated or even a box of chocolates could be a nice present; if there are children in the family, it would be ni ...

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5 Top Tips On Living With a Russian Host Family

The thought of visiting Russia did frighten me somewhat. Prior to my arrival, a few questions would whizz around my head: Will I be able to cope with the language? Will I make friends? Will I manage to be successful as a student there? However, what worried me most was whether I would get on with my host family… Upon both of my visits to Russia, I have stayed with the same host family. I am fortunate enough to know them and genuinely get on well with them. Undoubtedly, living with them has been one of my personal highlights from my time spent in Saint Petersburg. Living with a Russian family is certainly a great chance to have a truly unique perspective on life in Russia. My own experience of this has allowed me to develop a better appreciation for Russian culture and it has meant th ...

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My experience as an Au Pair in Russia

Being an au pair in Russia is one of the most amazing and interesting things which I have ever done. Due to my interest in Russian culture, when I was 21 years old I decided to spend two months as au pair in Syktyvkar, the Capital city of the Komi Republic. Why Syktyvkar? Five years have passed and I still can’t answer this question. I just found Tatyana’s beautiful family by chance while looking for a Russian family on a website, I liked them, they liked me and that’s it. I decided that Syktyvkar was the right place for me. Yes, I could have chosen Moscow or St. Petersburg, but I don’t regret my choice whatsoever. I think I had the chance to see the real face of Russia. Something which is quite different from Europe. Probably, my experience would have been different, i.e., less “real”, if ...

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