Introductory Russian students go to Russian café in Boston, MA

Introductory Russian students’ thoughts about trip to the Russian café in Boston.

April 21, 2018

My trip with the Russian Department to the St. Petersburg Cafe in Boston was, in a way, a sneak preview of the upcoming summer. As someone going on the Language Study Abroad, having this opportunity to order and enjoy food with native speakers was both great preparation and an awesome way to get excited about the trip this summer. Everyone in the restaurant was incredibly kind; meeting Sergei and the rest of the staff was an absolute pleasure. I hope they are the first of many new Russian friends to be made in the coming months!
-Jack

Our trip to Boston was a great learning experience that revealed the major role that cultural diversity plays in every day life—especially the Russian culture. By taking a trip to the Russian stores and restaurant, I realized that being able to speak another language would create opportunities to get to know a lot of new people and open up new experiences (both academic and personal). Ultimately, the trip renewed my interest in the Russian language and culture, and was a great way to ‘reset’ in the middle of the term. Thank you for making the trip possible!
-Rylee

Thank you so much for the taste of Russia you kindly provided us with on our trip to Boston! The departure from campus was much needed and- being from the west coast- it was an excellent time to explore Boston and its glorious public transportation. I was very reminiscent of my time in Moscow, riding the metro around the city and squishing into subway cars with locals. The hospitality of the staff at St. Petersburg cafe provided us with the perfect environment to practice our Russian comfortably and experience the most important part of culture: cuisine!

With gratitude,
-Leeza Poselski

I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to spend a day in Boston, immersing myself to an extent into Russian language and culture as a result of the generosity shown to Dartmouth’s Russian Department. It was an equally fun and insightful learning experience which allowed me to see a Russian grocery store, book store, and finally taste borscht after 4 years of studying Russian in high school and my two terms of Russian at Dartmouth. Trying borscht for the first time was especially meaningful because it has proven to be the most iconic and most mentioned Russian dish throughout my time studying Russian. It had always been the first thing I would mention in Russian when the topic of food came up and became what I viewed as one of the most essential parts of Russian culture and lifestyle. Although I expected not to like it, I was pleasantly surprised. Now, it is definitely one of my favorite dishes. Once again, thank you so much for your kindness in providing my class this opportunity!
Best,
-Matt

Dear Professor Rakova,

I am very grateful that I was able to go with my classmates to Boston this past weekend. It was such an enriching experience. Not only was I able to try classic Russian dishes I had only ever heard about in my textbook at the Russian restaurant, but I was also able to purchase a book from a Russian book store using verbs and numbers I had learned in class. This experience made me feel so excited about my upcoming trip to St. Petersburg this summer; I was able to get so much out of just one day by hearing Russian speakers converse, I can only imagine how much I will get out of being in Russia for a month. This trip brought together everything I have learned from Russian 1 to Russian 3, and was an amazing bonding experience for my class. I am very thankful to the people that made this trip possible.
-Jillian Freeman

I had an awesome time visiting Boston with my Russian class. It allowed me to sample genuine Russian cuisine such as borsht and pelmini. I found both dishes to be incredibly good. During the trip I also was able to practice my Russian when speaking to the waiter and when conversing with the chef of a restaurant. This practice with strangers gave me greater confidence in my speaking ability. Overall the trip to Boston was a lot of fun and it was great to have a little taste of Russian culture and real-world application of the language I am learning. Thank you very much for the trip to Boston!
-Stas Van Genderen

Thank you so much for the opportunity to apply our russian learning. It was really nice to be able to get off campus and experience how we can use russian in everyday life. It was also amazing to see the progress made in the understanding of the language. It was truly incredible to be able to comprehend Russian from people outside of the classroom. Overall, this trip was really fun and the food was delicious! I am so happy I was able to participate. 
-Roxy

Thank you for helping us go to Boston this past Saturday! We had a great time eating at St. Petersburg Cafe, and we were able to go to nearby Russian food and book stores. My classmates and I were able to try things we've never experienced before, like borscht and Turkish coffee. We were even able to get some candy to have in class for the next few days! Again, thank you so much for contributing to the Russian Department at Dartmouth. Experiential learning like this really does help me feel more comfortable writing and speaking the language conversationally
-Savannah

It sure was a nice day to ride the green line. It usually isn’t, given the agonizingly slow pace of the train, but the sunshine and the fact that it afforded us a means of exploring off campus made it all the more exciting. The train ride offered me a time to reflect on the trip and my own purpose for being there. For me, the trip presented a unique challenge. I’ve always been anxious about speaking foreign languages in public, even ones I know well. For drills or oral exams, I’m able to prepare statements that allow me to pass but plop me down in front of a waiter or grocery clerk, and I’ll turn into a blubbering mess. Walking into St. Petersburg Café, I was at first intimidated by the prospect of carrying out an entire conversation in Russian, but I realized that fancy words or phrases aren’t always needed. I could get by at first with just simple sentences and a smile, and then, as I got more comfortable, I could broaden my use of the language. The whole process was certainly made more enjoyable by the delicious borsht and Chicken Kiev that I had. The real challenge came in the grocery store. There, I was able to practice reading the Cyrillic on packages of food and conduct a complete transaction in Russian. The entire experience confirmed for me the enlightening notion that effective communication relies not just on fluency in a language but cultural understanding and a positive disposition.
-Jackson Danis