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From Russia with Love: Meeting New People

By: Gisele Greaux
Going abroad can be a little scary–especially when you’re essentially going alone. Yes, I’m with a group of people, but I don’t really know any of them so I felt really apprehensive at first. I’m glad to say that the more I get to know some of these people, the better I feel and the more I like them. Since I’ve been here, I’ve met and hung out with people from all sorts of places and I’m curious to see who else I will meet.

The first night here after dinner, everyone wanted to go to the supermarket and I decided to hang out in the common area to see if I could Skype with my daughter. There was another guy sitting in the room on his laptop and I paid him no mind until someone else came and started speaking to him in Spanish. That caught my attention and out of curiosity, I struck up a conversation with the good ol’ “Where are you from?” They were professors from Bogota, Colombia who were in St. Petersburg for a few days before heading to Moscow then Denmark. We spoke for about 20-30 minutes about traveling, school and ourselves (they were excited about finding another Spanish speaking person), until the fatigue of our long trip took its toll on me. I never did get any of their names but one of the professors gave me a notebook to remember him by and it was just a good experience.

I also met the fifth person to try hitchhiking around the world. His name is Timotei Rad, and he was a geography major from Romania. He originally started traveling Europe for his thesis, fell in love with it, and decided to go around the world. He was with some other Romanians who were there biking to raise awareness for Rosia Montana, gold mines in Romania that are in danger of being shut down, and it was fascinating to hear about it. We exchanged Facebook information so if anyone is interested on hearing more of either of these topics feel free to check them out on Facebook.

Last night I also met an Italian staying down the hall from me in the dormitory. He’s from Rome and has finished his Master’s in Economics and decided to come to St. Petersburg to brush up on Russian. It really is amazing the variety of people that come here and their different backgrounds. This trip really is going to be a learning experience and it embodies everything I love about traveling.

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