Foreign exchange students share and suggest unique places to visit in their countries

Pompeii, Bohemian Paradise, the Lampeduza islands, and azure waters are just some of the places our foreign exchange students suggest visiting


Our foreign ambassadors share wonders of nature and historical locations in their countries and the places that might be not as inviting for many people, or even dangerous for life!

“Bohemian Paradise” in Czech Republic the is a protected landscape area which holds breathtaking panoramas from the peaks. It is admired by Andrew Zahradník as he says, “I was once on the top of the mountain there at an altitude of 400 meters. And I could see everything from there: many cities which are so far away, plains – all in front of me!” The mountains are straight and abrupt, but there is a path around them to reach the top. “No equipment is needed for the trip, and it is very easy to go there even with a dog, so bring one!” he says with a smile. “And, definitely, don’t forget water! It takes approximately 45 minutes to reach the vertex.”

Pilsen (Plzeň), an accommodating city in Czech Republic, was founded in the thirteenth century and is full of historical sites. Comparing to the Prague City Centre, where there are a lot of tourists wandering everywhere, it is not so crowded. “Also, this place is much cheaper,” notes Andrew, “and the complex system of underground restaurants should not leave you indifferent.” Pilsen has another “city” under itself . Visit the labyrinth of antique hallways of old crafts and fabrics.

Another ancient city, located in Italy, is unique by its formation. Riccardo Frangipane tells about Pompeii, saying, “This city was destroyed by the eruption of a volcano Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. But it revived in a new shape created by lava and soon became a popular place which attracts a lot of tourists.”

For him, the area evokes various  thoughts. “There are a lot of houses of that period and such difference makes you understand the progress that we’ve made from that time to today.”

A great number of the most breathtaking sceneries in the Italian “boot” take place in the Lampedusa and Sicily islands of the Mediterranean Sea. Frangipane shares, “I have not been there yet, but I really want to visit those beaches because the water there is so transparent you can actually see the sand through it alone with the shadows underneath! The territory is protected and the amount of people arriving is strictly regulated. The only way to get there is by renting a boat.”

Frangipane did not find any disillusioning place in his country. “We have 80 percent of historical heritage! Just visit Italy, that is so much to see and describe!” he urged. However, he added, “It is one of the best places to visit as a tourist, and one of the worst places to live in, because of the politics, bureaucracy and taxes”.

Traveling to the Andaman Sea in Thailand might open you a new, inspiring world of endless summer. If you enjoy rambling along the shore, discover the south part of a sunny country! Sirikanya Sripat described many tropical beaches located there.

But she also pushes that you shouldn’t miss other features. “Thailand is very diverse in climate, places, and food. For example, you can find a lot of seafood in the south, but there is nothing in the north. Instead, they have distinct types of meat there.” 

Bangkok, the capital, will embrace you in its big city life and introduce to the Thai culture. Sripat reminisces, “We have many temples which are usually in gold and yellow colors. It represents wealth, power and fate. But in Bangkok, near the Chiang Rai province, there is one uncommon temple called Rong Khun created by famous in Thailand artist Chalermchai Kositpipat. It is all white.” Because the majority of people are Buddhist, there are a lot of religious art in temples.

Visit a shopping place on the river near the city, the Amphawa Floating Market. You will not only find unique food there, but can also have a trip along the river. “Just ask for a rower,” mentions Sripat.

“Another interesting thing that attracts a lot of tourists there is boxing gloves and pants with signatures of famous Thai boxers.” Thailand is the homeland of boxing. She compares original Thai boxing with its international version, saying, “You are allowed to use knees and elbows in Thai boxing. Also, originally people didn’t use gloves and they could even die after damaging their hands. It is really, really dangerous. People start to practice when they are kids, so there is no surprise when, on the tournaments, a smaller person can win over a taller one. My father used to Thai box at the age of five, but had to stop, because it hurt him a lot.” Sripat prefers to watch international boxing with Thai competitors, because it is less violent for her.

When was asked about one place that is not pleasant to visit, she detailed a history of the Three Southern Border Provinces. “It was an accident which happened approximately 15 years ago when someone tried to shoot in a public place. Police could not determine the perpetrator and detention of all people became the only solution. During the arrest, police overstepped laws and moral values towards people.”

As it turned out later, the protester was the head of the clan with Muslim people from Malaysia. “You know, Malaysia borders with Thailand and some people moved to Thailand from there, but were of different religion and could not speak Thai language; they could not communicate with the officers who, in turn, treated them badly.”

The problem had its ramifications. “Older generation commenced to make bombs to fight for their harmless children. They don’t want to kill anyone, the bursts just ruin the vicinities.” Nevertheless, Sripat does not blame them, saying, “They do want to receive attention from the government, which, actually, first started it all. If my parents were in this situation, I would also be angry.”

In 1950 — 1990, the era of military build-up, you could still hear the sounds of shells’ explosions in Semipalatinsk region of Kazakhstan, my home country. The region was chosen for the nuclear experiments of the Soviet Union what has tripled the radioactivity rate in that area. Total capacity of the Semipalatinsk explosions exceeded fifty megatons, which is two thousand and five hundred times greater than the capacity of the atomic bomb, dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. The United Nations Organization claims that more than one million people were subject to adverse effects of the forty year-long processes. Being closed since 1991, The Semipalatinsk Test Site is now remaining as a specter of the past. 

Ulyana Pyrlik
The atomic lake left after a nuclear explosion in Semipalatinsk Test Site.

Lake Balkhash, located in the south-east of the country has a better environmental impact and invites tourists to the healthy resorts. The lake itself is a natural prodigy — its western part consists of fresh water while the second eastern half is saline. Certain conditions allow many species of rare animals and plants flourish around. However, there are no “sunken” trees under waters like in Kaindy Lake near Almaty region. Before the earthquake in 1911, there was a forest, but rapid flows flooded the area through destroyed landscape, having drawn an indescribable picture. Where else can you dive right in the woods?

Traveling to the north, linger in Astana, the youngest capital in the world and the fastest developing city. Astana is very diverse, what only enriches impression. Separated by the Ishim river, the right bank preserved the antique atmosphere, living its measured life, while the skyscrapers rise on the left side of the river. Majestic mosques and old churches, scattered in Astana, reflect the culture of both religions and are definitely worth-visiting subjects.

The Bayterek monument, which, by the Kazakh legend, represents the tree of creation where the sacred bird Samryk lays eggs, will open a colorful view on the numerous parks, Presidential Palace — Ak Orda, and one of the first buildings in the city— the head office of a Kazakhstan’s gas company now.

Near, the biggest entertainment and shopping center — Khan Shatyr is located. A pompous building in the shape of a magician’s hat teems with various restaurants, theaters, attractions, gyms and aqua parks, completing with a tropical beach resort on the highest floor!