Every April, for the past 25 years, Professor Anna Kuchta has been bringing students from the Slavic Club to Brighton Beach, N.Y. to experience its rich and vibrant Russian culture. Brighton Beach, also known as New York’s Little Russia, is located right on Coney Island in Brooklyn and hosts the largest Russian community in North America.
This year the trip takes place this Saturday, on April 18 from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. The cost of the trip is $25 in cash and includes transportation, lunch and tax. Students will be served a four course meal at the Primorski Russian Restaurant, which, according to its online menu, serves an array of Eastern European food such as shish-kebab’s, stroganoff and a variety of seafood dishes.
On the trip students will be able to walk the famous boardwalk of Coney Island, eat in a real Russian restaurant and shop for Russian music and souvenirs, all while being immersed in a completely different culture.
Students on previous trips even got to tour the local aquarium and ride the infamous Cyclone Ride on Coney Island.
Many of the store owners and staff in and around Brighton Beach only speak Russian, so this trip will give students a great opportunity to practice their language skills and get real-life experience. Professor Kuchta said the reason she started doing this trip 25 years ago is because she wanted her Russian students to fully absorb the Russian culture that Brighton Beach has to offer.
“Brighton Beach is the largest Russian enclave in America, and since I teach Russian, I thought it would be a great place for my students to experience Russian culture for themselves, first-hand without taking a trip to Russia,” said Kuchta.
Mark Turon, a sophomore political science major, went on the trip last year and said it was an essential opportunity for him to practice and improve his Russian.
“Going around the Brighton community, shopping, asking for directions and even having conversations with the people truly helped to develop my knowledge of Russian,” said Turon. He said the shops he visited are so different than what we are used to and he highly encourages anyone and everyone to join the Slavic Club on this truly unique experience.
The trip is not just for Slavic Club members and is open to all Seton Hall students. It usually attracts around 50 students and there are still a few spots left- so anyone interested in attending should contact Anna Kuchta.
Mackenzie Scibetta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.