Top 10 things to do in Russia on your Year Abroad
Spending your Year Abroad in Russia is a unique and once in a lifetime experience. So much to see and to do! Apart from sightseeing until you drop, we can think of at least 10 other things (apart from studying, of course!) you should do while in Russia.
1. Try Russian cuisine
You simply cannot go to Russia and avoid trying the local cuisine! Yes, some of the dishes look rather bizarre, but are very delicious. Try golybtsy (голубцы), blini (блины), okroshka (окрошка), herring under fur coat (селедка под шубой), Olivier salad (оливье) and borscht (борщ) to name a few! Oh, and don’t forget about deserts! Medovik (медовик) and Napoleon cake (торт Наполеон) are simply scrumptious.
2. Go to a theatre
Russia is famous for its rich theatrical traditions and ballet schools. Whilst in Russia, theatre visit is a must. Amongst the most renowned theatres are Bolshoi theatre in Moscow together with Mariinsky and Mikhailovksy theatres in St Petersburg. Whether you choose to see one of Chekhov’s plays, a ballet, an opera or a musical, you will not be left disappointed.
3. Do what the locals do
Be sure not to live like a tourist. Try something you might never get a chance to do again. Take that marshrutka (маршрутка). Buy that kolbasa (колбаса) in a supermarket. Have that Russian-style coffee in a local café.
4. Do something different
Hop on the Russian sleeper train and travel to a new city for a weekend. See the sunrise on top of Moscow’s Sparrow hills. Walk along beautiful streets of St Petersburg during the White nights. Perhaps, go roller-skating in Gorky park or see a hockey game?
5. Make Russian friends
Meeting new people and making new friends from all over the world (including Russian friends) is fun and exciting. We have previously written a blog post about how to make Russian friends (read here).
6. Pay a visit to a Russian Banya (баня)
Originating in Russia, Banya resembles a Finnish sauna, but slightly cooler and the steam is much wetter, thus more hydrating and detoxifying. A part of the complete experience, you should also try “parenie”(паренье). Parenie is a traditional treatment, which involves a leafy bundle of birch, oak or eucalyptus twigs called venik (веник) being brushed over the body. Trust us – it is fun!
7. Have a tea party
More about tea drinking traditions in Russia can be found in one of our previous blogs.
8. Try winter sports
Winter in Russia is no reason to stay inside. Embrace the cold weather by trying some traditional winter activities: slide down a hill in a sled, build a snowman, go ice skating.
9. Go to the countryside for shashlyki (шашлыки)
Early May is when many Russians retreat to the countryside for some shashlyki (traditional BBQ). Why not join them?
10. Try mushroom and berry picking in the forest
It is a fun traditional activity during warmer months of the year, but make sure to have a Russian friend nearby. After all, not all berries and mushrooms are eatable.
Enjoy your Year Abroad!