In June of 2016, 18 UCF students traveled to Russia to study abroad at Moscow State University. Dr. Kourova is the program director. There they had the opportunity to study the Russian language, explore Moscow and St. Petersburg, and experience all the Russian culture had to offer. After their classes at the Institute of Russian Language, students would embark on excursions to museums, cathedrals and historical sites. When not on an excursion, students would have the opportunity to practice their communication skills, through peer to peer interaction at the Moscow Pedagogical University with Russian students.
UCF students also had a unique opportunity to visit US Embassy in Moscow and to meet with James Land (Cultural Affairs Attaché), Jennifer Washeleski (Grant Officer, Manager of the US-Russia Peer-to Peer Dialogue Program), Amy Steinmann (Public Diplomacy Officer), Sandra Dupuy (Labor and Energy Officer, Second Secretary, Economic Affairs Section), Kori Gleason (Director of the American Center), and Magia Krause (Information Resource Officer). The students were invited to participate in the special event “Speed Dating with American culture” in American center at the United States Embassy in Moscow https://flic.kr/s/aHskCwkgAc
When asked how the trip has improved their study of Russian language and culture, students responded with a barrage of one word answers synonymous with “immeasurable”. Students claimed the “little things” about the trip were almost the most educational; some examples include ordering food at a restaurant, bargaining prices for goods at a market, having the confidence to use the public transportation on their own or simply the experience of attending a ballet. The progression of some students was so significant, upon their return to the United States, six students were selected as teaching assistants for the Government funded intensive Russian language summer program, STARTALK, at UCF. It goes without saying that the UCF Study Abroad trip to Russia was a major success and that students are eager to apply and reapply for future trips.
Photos by Alyssa McComb.