If you've seen Soviet Russian films, then you are very familiar with this statue. Which is actually located outside of Moscow, not in Yaroslavl.
The typical question I got back home was:
Q: Where are you studying abroad in Russia?
A: Yaroslavl, Russia.
Q: Oh ok... where's that?
I guess many people thought that my response would either be A) Moscow or B) Saint Petersburg. The typical American probably wouldn't have heard of cities such as Perm, Ufa, Omsk, Yakutsk, as well as Yaroslavl if they weren't too familiar with Russia. I myself didn't know where Yaroslavl was until I began to study Russian and was deciding to study abroad. So I had to change my answer a bit. "I'm going to Yaroslavl, it's a small town 4 hours to the North of Moscow." That way people would understand, OH! So not too far from Moscow.
So, I'm here. Yaroslavl, Russia! A town of about ~600,000 dwellers who call this city their home. And from the months of Sept 2010- June 2011, this will be my home. I chose Yaroslavl for a few reasons. Out of the three cities we had from the Middlebury C.V. Starr schools they were: Moscow, Yaroslavl and Irkutsk. Moscow usually isn't recommended being that the city attracts many foreigners who don't rely on Russian to get around. Irkutsk was too far East for me, and the idea of being in Siberia for a year really didn't sell itself to me. Yaroslavl on the other hand wasn't too far away from the main cities of Russia, easily accessible from Moscow and the cheaper city out of the three.
The town is very historic (more on that later) and sprinkled with beautiful landmarks! Pretty much from any point in the city, odds are you will be able to spot a church and the city of course has a Kremlin, with a monastery inside. Rumor has it that Stalin never made it to Yaroslavl because one theory was that since in Russian, Yaroslavl is Ярославль and the letter 'Я' is the last letter of the alphabet, he never got done to the end of the list. But who knows what's the truth?
I won't be updating this everyday because seriously not too much happens on a daily basis. Breakfast, class, lunch, class, dinner, homework... that really isn't blog material and you'd be so bored reading about what we did in class. But, I will say that so far I'll be taking this semester: Russian Film, Russian Grammar, a Russian Writing Course, Russian Culture and one class which I am still looking for me; I might want to take a linguistics course with actually Russian students(but let's see how that goes!)
I'll write more about Yaroslavl in the next post!
and.. please excuse any bad grammar, Russian seems to be eating away of any existing knowledge of the English language.