Expand your culinary horizons

Many international students crave familiar foods this time of year, but it could also be an opportunity to try some new flavors – local or from around the world. If you’re ready to dive into Russian staples, a safe place to start could be a pack of frozen pelmeni from the neighborhood grocery store, boiled to steaming perfection and topped with butter. Feel like making a little magic in the kitchen? How about spending an afternoon making the traditional borscht (which will last you all week) or trying your hand at some of the easy comfort foods. If you’re feeling truly adventurous, check out our favorites from around the world and tickle your tastebuds without logging any miles. Time in the kitchen not your cup of tea? Go straight for the good stuff with some favorites brought to you by a friendly food delivery service

Try indoor sports

Sharing an activity is great for both entertainment and bonding! How about replacing passive leisure (say, going to a bar or relaxing in front of a TV) with low-effort (when not taken too seriously) sports, such as pool, bowling, or darts? It may not sound like much until you give it a try and fall victim to the thrill of competition.

Get crafty

If idleness feels like torture, not a reward, why not channel your energy into some handiwork? The choice of how to put your crafts skills to the test is immense: you can embroider, knit, stitch, restore your old but favorite piece of furniture, or paint by numbers. All the tools can be found at Ozon or Wildberries, the Russian relatives of Amazon. For some crafts, like salt dough, you’ve already got everything in your kitchen –  find flour, water, and salt, and you’re one step away from molding a masterpiece.

Make a mood board

Setting goals or compiling wish lists for the year ahead is always handy, but there’s also a way to make it even more fun – by turning them into a mood board. Go on Pinterest (or just search for inspirational images on Google) and find the pictures that capture your dreams the best. It’s a great opportunity to think about what actually draws you to your goals: is it a specific activity you’ll get to do, a status you’ll receive, or the people who will be doing it with you? Go all out, tap into your creative spirit, and you won’t even notice how the day goes by, leaving you excited to move towards your dream life. And if you want to expand on the hand-made activities, as suggested above, you can try making an analog mood board by cutting pictures out of magazines and gluing them together to make an inspirational collage.

Have a couch potato fest

Freezing cold outside? You could do something… but isn’t it a perfect excuse to do nothing at all or стать частью дивана (to become one with the sofa), as I love to call it in Russian? After the busy season, be it work or studies, rest is a must, and there’s nothing wrong with giving yourself a break in the form of sleeping in, stocking up on some snacks, and binge-watching your favorite movies or series – alone or in the company of another couch potato.

ITMO.NEWS editorial team