akademgorowhat? akademgorodok!

Академгородок: academic city

located a mere 20-30km outside russia’s 3rd largest city, novosibirsk, this charming college town is home to novosibirsk state university, otherwise known as НГУ (‘en-gay-ooh’). it is here, in the heart of siberia, and in the middle of the woods (seriously) that i have chosen to make my home for the next 2 months. why? i’m not entirely sure myself.

i’ve been here a week now, and it took all of 20 minutes to see the whole town. this is proving to be problematic as i’m accustomed to city living and actually having things to do. also problematic is the fact that no one in my dorm speaks english, as they are all from korea. this is probably something i should have researched before deciding to live here.

so what is there exactly? the university (1 big building), dorms, a shopping center (with a bookstore, grocery store and ‘mall’ with almost nothing in it actually worth buying; same goes for the grocery store), and a few cafes and shops on the main drag. and that’s the whole downtown area. there is also a beach nearby, but to get to this, it requires treking through the woods and the willingness to return home with a ridiculous number of mosquito bites. now, when i say beach, i don’t mean the type of beach that we in the west are accustomed to. i am in fact referring to the type of beach that would make most anyone from middle class america and up cringe, as it is covered with trash and debris. however, the atmosphere is fun and festive, as people drive their cars right up on the beach, blast their music and get drunk, while throwing around volleyballs and cooking hotdogs around bonfires right at the lake’s edge. if you can find a cleaner section of beach/water, the swimming is actually pretty nice, and there are tons of broken tree trunks and logs scattered on the beach that you can push into the lake and use as floats/diving boards. perhaps the main problem with the beach, is the fact that trash cans are non-existant. so instead of taking trash home with you, it’s apparently customary to throw your garbage in a massive pile on the sandy hill that takes you back up to the train station. and if you don’t quite feel like lugging your trash that far, it’s ok if it remains on the beach. not gonna lie, it’s kinda grimy.

at this point i would upload pictures of the beach, were it not for the fact that i have none. unfortunately my camera battery is damn near dead, and as the outlets over here are completely different from those at home, i won’t be able to charge it until i come back to the states. all i can say is thank god i remembered to buy an adapter kit for my computer before i left. however, i am sad to say that i will not be able to post many photos like i had hoped and intended.

and now i’m off to cook pirogies, one of the very few edible items available in the grocery store. my gratitude goes out to rada, the woman on my mexico trip who told me to bring food. i’ve already killed almost 1/3 of my granola bars. no doubt things will soon start looking grim.

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2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    switchbladecapslock said,

    : (

    Oh gosh, that sounds brutal. Gotta start rationing those granola bars…

    Hrm — looks like you’ll be taking alot more trips on the trans-siberian railroad then? Where are you thinking about going first?

    -Tim

  2. 2

    Anna said,

    Hey hey,

    I know you’re not yet impressed with my little town but believe me it’ll get better(I’m from Akadem(short version) originally and my parents still live there – it takes exactly 10 days to adopt). First of all, there are plenty of students in the University that speak English (very well actually). Second of all, if you’d really walk around the town – it will take you much more time (since it’s pretty big, just very widespread). Third of all, how the hell are you going to the beach ? I really wouldn’t go there through the woods, and I’m a native – there is a road (a concrete one). I think the best time to go to the beach is after July 7, the time that it really feels like summer in there. Also, art galleris and museums (in “Dom Uchenih” – the House of the Scientists) is something you should take a look at. Fourth, clothes is what Russian women take seriously, so you should be able to find somthing decent (might be expensive though). There are plenty of supermarkets in the town, all situated within 10-15 minutes of each other. There’s really plenty of staff to do in there (from the horseback riding to whatever… ). So, find Russian friends (that speak English) and they’ll show you the town and everything that it has to offer. Unfortunantely, you’re there during the summer and a lot of students are off for that semester. If you have any questions, let me know, I’ll try to help. So, enjoy and don’t be afraid to try Russian food. Russia is different from US and always will be, therefore, don’t try to compare, just enjoy the difference (trust me it can be enjoyable)!


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