13-20 March 2016

In March 2016, Murom Institute hosted an Alternative Spring Break program under the leadership of David Johnson, E.A. Pankratova, N.V. Zhilenko, and E.V. Molodkina.

On the American side, three students, Mikaela Mayorik and Hayden Hosto from Lehigh University and Claire Russ from the College of Wooster, took part in the program. On the Russian side, professors from the foreign languages department and foreign language majors from all four years participated. Bachelor’s and master’s candidates from different departments, studying foreign language as part of humanities and technical educational programs, were also included.

The project itinerary was extremely busy! The academic part of the program consisted of conversations with the American students in English about American and Russian culture and traditions. The American guests also prepared audio recordings of academic texts for later use in English classes. Excursions around the city, a visit to the Murom Historical Museum, participation in the “Maslenitsa” presentation at the House of Folk Art, and a master class at a Murom bakery filled out the cultural part of the program. To top it all off, the visitors were in attendance at the “Virtuosos of Moscow” classical music concert at the Murom House of Culture.

Sophy Geraseva (year four) and Emily Karimzhonova and Valeria Kartashova (year three) and their families hosted the three girls. The host families prepared their own programs for the American students during free time in the evenings and the weekend.

Participation in this program gives Murom students the opportunity to lead tours on their own and to organize events with native speakers. This in turn allows them to understand the value of foreign language in organic cross-cultural communication.