Balance of Being a Studious Student or Exercise Enthusiast

Being apart of our intensive program such here in Narva, Estonia- I have found that having a “normal” workout routine is non-existent. For me, exercising is my “happy place.”  We were told, “if you find yourself stressing out, find your happy place!”

Back home, I try to workout at least 4-5 times a week! (Especially since I have a half marathon at the end of August) As of lately, I seem to be stressing more about not getting my runs in, than doing my homework! Since I am missing vital training days.

I was told that I should run with a partner, because some areas of Narva aren’t very safe. So I have been able to run with a fellow student here and there. But again- not very regularly. Although it has only been 2 weeks here…we, as a group, are finally starting to find our daily “routine,” but it is always varying. The program has so much for us to learn and engage in that by the time that we get back to do work there is not enough time in the day to workout.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN ESTONIANS DON’T RUN!? Well folks, I can tell you right now that it is a very unusual sight seeing people run around here. The times that I have been out running with my friend, there have been some lovely looks given. Some have stopped their cars, some literally turn their bodies as we run past, or just jaw-droppingly gawk at us. So I haven’t been very inclined to go out running by myself to be the constant center of attention as I huff-and-puff and drip with sweat. Or occasionally, getting pooped on by all the lovely pigeons and having to stop and wipe it off in the grass! Luckily, it has never gotten on my clothing! However, as I have been talking to more and more people about their exercise routines, it seems less scary and more friendly of a place to run (ALONE). It is just a very unusual sight for a lady to be running in the street!

Moreover, many of us found a small gym and have become members down the road. Unfortunately, they don’t open at the crack of dawn like most gyms do back in the states. Yes, they also close earlier too!  My roommates and I have been trying to go every other day to the gym. I don’t know what kind of gym you’re imagining, but I can tell you this…It is all male (maybe 1 or 2 other Estonian females total), very quaint (only a few cardio machines, a couple of barbells and benches, a stretch area and a few free weights and cable machines). However, there are less tennis shoes and more sandals and/or socks and less deodorant and more BO! Even though it doesn’t come close to my gym/second home in the states, it is definitely still my happy (smelly) place. The locals haven’t been shy in befriending us, as they seem to want to help in teaching you technique while bench pressing; OR if they don’t know any English, they just stare at you while you’re torturing yourself with burpees.

Other recreational activities that have been put together by some students are sports nights every Tuesday and Thursday if the plan for the day allows it! Some sports that have been played include basketball, floor hockey and volleyball.


-Sarah Graupp




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