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The Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad (GPA) Program in the U.S. Department of Education has awarded an amount of $91,795 grant to the University of Central Florida’s College of Arts and Humanities. The program, entitled “Building Bridges with Language and Culture in Russia,” will be led by faculty member Alla Kourova from the Department of Modern Languages and faculty member Maria C. Santana from the Literatures and Women’s and Gender Studies program. The total cost of the program is $113,325, eighty-one percent of which is funded by GPA, with the remaining nineteen percent funded by the university.

“Building Bridges with Language and Culture in Russia” activities begin August 2017 and end December 2018.

The proposed project, “Building Bridges with Language and Culture in Russia,” is a GPA on curriculum development for University of Central Florida (UCF) faculty and K-12 teachers in the fields of language, culture, history and politics in Seminole, Orange, and Osceola County, Florida. The selected 12 participants (6 UCF faculty and 6 K-12 teachers) will be employees of UCF and public schools in the aforementioned counties.

UCF proposed a four week (thirty-day) curriculum development project in Russia, including pre-departure and post-departure programs at UCF focusing on culture, history and politics as the means to understand the role and realities of Russia in the international community, its historical stages and the current political influence. Studying Russian language, culture, history, politics and Russia’s global impact could help instructors to increase their linguistic and cultural competence as well as promote the integration of humanities and international studies across the curricula.

The planning of this GPA initiative took in consideration the importance of living and experiencing a culture while in Russia: workshops, educational excursions, social activities and research topics operating in unison to secure a comprehensive immersion in culture and language. Moscow State and Moscow City Universities, Moscow, Russia will host the UCF program abroad.

“This opportunity will generate interest and more understanding on the culture, people and language of Russia,” says Dr. Maria C. Santana, director of the UCF Women’s and Gender Studies program and co-principal investigator of the project, along with Dr. Alla Kourova, associate professor of Russian and TESOL. “We hope the UCF faculty and K-12 teachers visiting Russia will enrich their curriculum offerings based on this unique experience.”

To learn more about the Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Program, click here: www.ed.gov/programs/iegpsgpa/index.html