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Visiting two of the most amazing places this summer was truly an experience impossible to forget. Firstly, at the end of June shortly after exams, I flew to St. Petersburg with 18 other people from my Russian class, who I barely knew even after a year of lectures together. I was going there for a month, a month of intensive Russian classes and living with a host family which was also completely new for me. When I found out about the trip, I didn’t want to go as it completely messed up my summer plans and spending a month in Russia didn’t sound that great to me and to other people. However with time I realised how lucky I was to have the opportunity to be there. St. Petersburg exceeded my expectations to such a level that I am considering moving to this fabulous place after finishing my degree. The city was absolutely beautiful, the people were welcoming and the views were stunning. Living with the host family (which I feared the most) only helped in experiencing the real rather than touristy way of living in Russia. The lessons we had to attend were very hard but helpful at the same time, and made me feel much more confident in speaking the language, which was challenging for me during the whole of first year. When it was getting close to our flight back to Birmingham, everyone was really upset about leaving this wonderful place where we’d not only experienced and learned so many new things, but also made some really good friends including with each other.
After leaving Russia, the next thing I looked forward to was going to Milan and visiting the famous EXPO which is also known as the world’s fair. Seeing EXPO Milano 2015 allowed me to learn about the cultures of at least 50 out of 145 countries in the 12hours that we spent there. It was amazing seeing so many different pavilions each representing different countries and each and every one being more peculiar and eccentric than the last, giving you an idea of people that live there and their lives, and sometimes even small anecdotes that you’ve never heard before about the country.
Visiting St. Petersburg this year made me want to explore more of Russia and seeing how amazing EXPO Milano was encouraged me to visit the next one, which will take place in Dubai in 2020 and I strongly recommend seeing!
Written By: Klaudia Kowalska
The UoB Linguist Magazine
Guild of Students,
University of Birmingham