The Tran-Siberian Experience

By Lisa Pistocco, Italy

Have you always dreamed of travelling through Russia to the border of Mongolia? Seeing the most beautiful landscapes of Siberia? Discovering the Russian culture by meeting locals?
Here’s my story.

Walking on the Baikal Lake was incredible

After my second year of applied languages, I decided to spend my last year of college in Russia. I had the opportunity to travel a lot, and moreover, to experience the Tran-Siberian Railroad.
For the ones who don’t know, let me explain to you what it is. The Tran-Siberian Railroad is a railway in Russia, extending from Moscow to Vladivostok on the Pacific. This railway was constructed from 1891 to 1916, and is now one of the most famous railways in the world.

Joanna and I waiting for our train in Ekaterinburg

I decided to experience it because, while I was there, I was so impressed by all that had happened in the country. I was impressed, but also curious. Curious about Russian people’s way to live, to be, and above all curious about this huge country.

Because yes; Russia is the world’s largest nation. It borders European and Asian countries as well as the Pacific and Artic Oceans. Russia has incredible landscapes ranges from tundra and forests to subtropical beaches. How could I not be curious? Most of you know Moscow and St. Petersburg, but in my opinion, Russia is not –or not only- Moscow and St. Petersburg. Russia is all the other things that nobody knows. Russia is humanity, culture, landscapes, and mutual aid for each other.

Novossibirsk, Capital of Siberia

Joanna –my favourite German friend in the whole world- and I talked about taking this trip one day. “Do you want to do the Tran-Siberian?” she asked me. My answer? “Yes of course!!” and 3 weeks later we were good to go.

Of course, it wasn’t easy to plan, to collect all the information, to book the train tickets, but we had enough motivation to go through with it.


First of all, we had to find which cities we wanted to visit, because the Tran-Siberian Railroad crosses all of Russia, and stopping in every city wasn’t possible as we had only one month to do it.
We decided where we wanted to go and our decision was to the border of Mongolia; Ulan-Ude.

Ulan-Ude, capital city of the Republic of Buryatia

To make this trip possible, you need to be conscious of the hard weather in Russia during the time we were going to be there. Of course, if you do it during the summer time, you’ll not have that much of a problem, but we did it during the winter period, which not everybody is able to do.

Temperatures were most of the time below -4F°. The most important to think then is to buy enough warm clothes that allow you to keep you warm!

It’s really cold in Siberia, but so much fun also

Once we bought our clothes, our train tickets, and booked all the hostels, we were good to go.
Oh, I forgot something really important to take: FOOD.

Because, of course, while you are on the train –for 14h, 21h, 37h, 73h- you need food. And in the train, it’s not really possible to eat. It depends on which train, you can have the possibility to find a restaurant wagon. If there isn’t, you need to buy some dry noodles, and food that you can eat without warming and putting in the refrigerator.


34hours of train on our way to Irkutsk


It was one of the best experiences I ever had, I had the opportunity to meet amazing people and I made so many unforgettable memories. I can only recommend to you to take this trip, but also just to enjoy your life. Enjoy your life by meeting people, travelling, and be happy.


15 Question Interview with an EF Student

  1. If you could drink only one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

– Water.

  1. What is your biggest goal in life?

– To be happy all my life.

  1. How old do you think our substitute teacher Kevin is?

– 28.

  1. What do you think you will be doing in 20 years?

– I think I will have a good job and my own family, and hopefully be married.

  1. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be?

– I think, in Spain.

  1. Who is the most important person to you?

– My sister.

  1. What makes you happy?

– The sun, going out with friends, my family, and eating.

  1. What makes you sad?

– If I see other people being sad or unhappy.

  1. Who is your biggest inspiration?

– My grandmother.

  1. Do you have any big regrets in life?

– My ex-boyfriend.

  1. Why did you come to Santa Barbara?

– Because I wanted to learn English in a sunny place and I heard a lot of good things  about Santa Barbara.

  1. What do you talk about to avoid awkward silence?

– Always asking the other person questions.

  1. Where is the best place to spend a Saturday night?

– In a good club.

  1. What would be the first thing you bought if you won 10 million dollars?

– A car and a house.

  1. What is important in a best friend?

– That you can always go back to the same person, knowing that she would never abandon you.


By, Ali Alghamdi, Saudi Arabia.

And, Ali Ahmad, Saudi Arabia

Traveling is one of our hobbies. We have traveled since we were young. We have many reasons to love traveling, such as changing our daily routine, learning about other countries culture, meeting new people from different countries, and visiting museums help us to learn the country’s history.

We have visited about 30 cities in 17 countries in the last five years.

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One of the most beautiful cities we visited was Auckland in New Zealand. The weather was perfect and the people were more friendly there. We loved this city because it was amazing.

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Also we would have so much fun in Milan, There was a big mall that has many brands, Italian foods and it was beautiful .

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We visited Selangor also in Malaysia and it was amazing city for tourists to relax. And if you need to marry you can go to there as a honeymoon.

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Eventually, traveling has positive and negative sides but we will keep traveling until the last day of our lives.