The first question I usually get on announcing I’m going to teach in Russia next year is: “Where?”
And then I say, “Ukhta!” And then my listener, perhaps fearing to break a trend, perhaps hoping a second shot will yield a better result, repeats, “Where?”
So, for your viewing pleasure, I present: maps.
Map #1 means I will be cold, most of the time. Another helpful visual reference from this very useful weather website shows the temperature trends in the area:
You could compare this to South Bend, where I spent my last four years:
Also, being only three degrees below the Arctic Circle probably won’t be very helpful for my suntan, cold or not, because for a good portion of the year I will be getting fairly little sunlight, and not always direct sunlight even when it is technically day.
Map #2 (showing population density) means that Ukhta is not only small but also surrounded by cities that are equally small. They are probably also very spread out. This has been confirmed by Google Maps.
Map #3 agrees with Map #1, namely, that I will be cold. But as a side note, it also contradicts the American assumption that North = Cold, unequivocally. While Ukhta is very far north and is very cold, it is not as cold as other, even more southerly parts of Eastern Russia.
Map #4 plops me in the middle of the world’s largest stretch of boreal forest (a.k.a. taiga). I’m also a short drive (okay, 3 hours, but in the North that’s nothing) from Europe’s largest national park, which is mostly taiga and part tundra. If I step out of the city limits, I will chance encountering a variety of animal life, including but not limited to squirrels, lynxes, bears, and reindeer.