My first impression was blurred by jetlag but after couple of days I realized finally the circumstances: I’m in Yakutsk! Far away from home and in the middle of really exotic culture, I found out that it will be an exciting trip for me. Yakutia really surprised me with its huge nature and rough weather, during the winter the temperature went almost -50C and in the summer time it was more than +30C degrees.
Yakutia offers a lot of changes to travel. We, exchange students, arranged our own trips. For example we traveled to The Lena Pillars, which was pretty amazing experience. I can’t underrate the beauty of the village life either. Probably one of the most memorable thing in my life was when I went to Verkhnevilyuysky village which is about 700 kilometers away from the city of Yakutsk. Every village in Yakutia was really one of a kind and I was really happy for having possibilities to visit people there.
This kind of huge experience is hard to put in words and describing the education system is rather difficult too. The major difference was that in our Finnish system, the studies are more self-orientated when in Russia I felt that everything is more collective and public, for example we made many presentations in front of the audience – which helped me to break the language barrier and gave me courage to recite Russian language out loud. Instead of sitting in a classroom all day long, in Yakutia, people actually present more their works and read famous Russian poems aloud. Even though I was skeptical if I will ever learn Russian language after 7 months of studying I finally a decent small-talks and successful phone calls. After 9 months I was able to do many basic everyday things by using only Russian language.
Yakutia is not the easiest place to exchange but it has definitely potential to offer a lot of unique experiences. It will teach you a language if you are eager enough to put some effort on your studies.
Published in 2015.