Did you know that Russia is the largest country in the world? With a total area of 17 million square kilometers, the beauty and the scope of untouched nature is beyond one’s wildest imagination with huge forests and the deepest lake in the world, Lake Baikal. The scale of the country also means it has a vast collection of beautiful palaces, churches and parks and a variety of architectural styles dating back over 1,000 years, which make its towns and cities incredibly pretty.

Whether it is the glittering spires of St. Petersburg, the fabulous palaces of the Tsars, or simply the haunting and unique landscape of the vast Eurasian Steppe, Russia has a lot to offer. Among some of the reasons for visiting this country, you should consider the rich history, famous art and architecture, and the colourful and fascinating culture. You may have learnt more about Russia through the classical authors of Russian literature such as Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky or to love the great cultural vitality by visiting some of the best art institutions in the world such as The Bolshoi Theater, the Pushkin Art Gallery in Moscow and the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. In regard to the arts, Russia has always occupied a prominent spot on the world scene.

Many people will already know that Russia is the home of vodka (which means “little water” in Russian!). But what you might not have tried yet is the beef stroganov, served in a sauce with sour cream, or pelmeni, which are pastry dumplings typically filled with minced meat, both of which are very famous in Russia. For those with a sweet tooth, you will want to try chocolate salami, bird’s milk cake or medovik (honey cake). Truly delicious!

Travel-seekers and train lovers might be interested in making a journey on the Trans-Siberian Railway. Spanning almost the whole of Russia, this 9,289km journey take 8 days to complete and is the single longest railway in the world. Just make sure you book a comfy seat!

Beyond any doubt, there’s no better way to understand a new culture than by learning its language. Russian language uses the Cyrillic alphabet instead of the Latin alphabet, and is one of the five most spoken languages in the world. There are many benefits to learning Russian. First of all, Russian language is gaining its popularity. Secondly, the complexity of Russian grammar, its pronunciation and constantly shifting stress keep the brain stretched and flexible. Finally, Russian language is beneficial for self-development in particular and career growth in general.

International House has a study abroad school in southwestern Russia in the city of Voronezh. There are 400 years of history in Voronezh, where the past and the present intertwine in aesthetic harmony. The city is popular for its tranquil and peaceful lifestyle which substantially differs from hectic bright lights, but represents a perfect example of Russian authentic culture. Embarking on a Russian adventure in Voronezh means you definitely won’t find yourself bored to tears as the city tends to be a big industrial and cultural centre of the country with a number of  major festivals and fairs. What’s more, Voronezh is a city of universities and a home to many international students. It caters for all tastes and generations. Finally, the city is about 500km south of Moscow, so you might want to jump at the chance to set off on a memorable trip to the very heart of the country