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Thursday, May 5, 2016

To Russia and back again

Thursday, July 8, 2004

Drury Student

Saint Petersburg, Russia--The name of this city conjures up images of palaces, tsars and pomp. It is a city steeped in history and myth.

This spring the author of this article, Gina Crunkilton, had the opportunity to travel to Saint Petersburg as part of a study abroad group from Drury University. Six students and two instructors departed on May 21 and stayed for three weeks.

The group attended class in the mornings at the University of Saint Petersburg and were treated to lectures by knowledgeable and passionate Russian professors. Students toured the city and viewed the traditional tourist sites, and they also where able to get a glimpse into everyday life in the city. This writer found that the city was filled with contrasts.

Amidst palaces and grandeur stood neglected crumbling buildings.

By viewing the city from this unique perspective, one is able to glean a better understanding of the tortured souls of some of the characters found in Russian literature.

Highlights of the trip included attending a performance of the Mariinsky Ballet troupe, a two-day boat trip on Lake Ladoga, which is the largest lake in Europe, to the archipelago Valaam, and visiting the State Hermitage Museum. The group also toured the Usupov Palace, the site of Rasputin's murder, visited Peterhof with its impressive fountains, and traveled to the ancient city of Novgorod.

Three weeks spent in this very fast-paced city began to take its toll on this writer at least. One of the most obvious differences between Saint Petersburg and Missouri is the climate.

Warm jackets and scarves were a must on many days. Congestion both pedestrian and vehicular was everywhere, and riding the subway became an adventure in survival, as roving bands of gypsies frequented the platforms looking for prospective thievery targets.

This writer breathed a sigh of relief as the plane touched down in New York. They say that home is where the heart is, and my heart is firmly anchored in Cabool, Mo. Greeted by family at the Springfield airport, I felt that, though my Russian adventure had come to an end, I was imbued with a newfound appreciation and understanding of my own culture and country.

Drury University in Springfield offers a wide array of study abroad opportunities each summer. From Russia to Japan to Greece students can pick an area of the world to visit that captivates their interest. These study abroad trips are open to all students, and more information can be found on Drury's Web site located at: http://www.drury.edu.

At Drury's Cabool campus, the summer session is currently in progress and registration for the fall semester is undeway.

For more information on the various courses offered in Cabool or Thayer, call, 417-962-5314, or email: ladams@drury.edu.

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