July 27, 2016

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.

Students from the STARTALK Russian language program pose with their certificates of completion Friday. Certificates were handed out by program director Dr. Alla Kourova and the College of Arts and Humanities Associate Dean Lyman Brodie.
Students and teachers’ assistants applaud during the summer 2016 STARTALK Russian language program graduation where several performances by students showcased what they’ve learned in the program. The graduation ceremony Friday was filled with songs, plays and laughter.
On Friday, students watched a film in Russian in preparation for their graduation of the STARTALK Russian language program at UCF. During the summer of 2016, the class was offered for free to students from high school and up.
An assortment of Russian fruit drinks are laid out during the graduation of summer 2016 STARTALK Russian language program Friday. Authentic foods and drinks were available for students to enjoy as a congratulations on finishing the three week program.
Flowers were handed out to students who completed the summer 2016 STARTALK Russian language program Friday during the graduation ceremony. The program focused on learning the basics of the Russian language, as well as absorbing Russian cultural experiences.
Traditional food such as rice with meat and beet salad was served at the summer 2016 STARTALK Russian language program graduation Friday. Students, T.A.s and program director Dr. Alla Kourova joined in the celebration of the students' completion of the three week program.
A cake is presented at the summer 2016 STARTALK Russian language program graduation ceremony, which was held Friday  and celebrated the three weeks students worked on learning about the Russian language and culture.
Cake and traditional Russian food is served during the summer 2016 STARTALK Russian language program graduation Friday. Students who participated in the free class received Russian treats and a certification of completion as a congratulations.
Dr. Alla Kourova (pictured right), program director of the summer 2016 STARTALK Russian language program, sings with her students on graduation day. The students have been studying the Russian language and culture for three weeks.
Students perform a song entirely in Russian at the summer 2016 STARTALK Russian language program graduation Friday. To wrap up what they’ve learned, small groups performed plays and songs in Russian before receiving their certificates of completion.