Students who had planned to go to Russia and Siberia this spring term are still dealing with the fact that their term abroad was canceled.
While the announcement came in late January that the spring term abroad to Russia was canceled, many of the students who planned on going are still feeling the disappointment. Abigail Lehner ’18 stated that many of the students were very upset, some at the point of crying in public.
Though many have accepted it, everyone remains uneasy about the cancellation. Most distraught were the few seniors who had planned to go to Russia as their last opportunity to travel and learn before graduating this June.
When asked about sophomores’ and juniors’ plans for going abroad, Lenher discussed that many of the juniors have not yet made plans to go abroad, but that many of the sophomores have started looking into term abroads next year.
When asked about Associate Professor of Russian and Director of Russian and Eastern European Studies Kristin Bidoshi’s reaction to the announcement, Lehner commented that she was the most upset out of everyone.
Lehner claims that Bidoshi had high hopes of giving most of the students an opportunity to experience Russian culture. The Russia term abroad was originally run through a program belonging to the Irkutsk University in Russia.
In the two year time period since the last spring term abroad to Russia, the University had been bought out by another college in Moscow. For reasons not verified, the students and professors visas were denied by the College, causing Union’s office for term abroad to cancel the trip.
This reasoning is emphasized by the words of Director of International Programs Lara Atkins, who said, “Our partner, the School of Russian and Asian Studies, has informed us that due to new regulatory issues in Russia related to the recent acquisition of our partner university Irkutsk State Linguistic University in Irkutsk by Moscow State University, we are unable to attain the necessary invitations for our students to study at IGLU this spring.”
The Office of International Programs proposed two alternative options: a mini-term abroad during the Summer, and/or a fall term abroad with a different program. However, both propositions bring new complications to the students who wouldn’t be able to attend, most prominently due to fall sports and summer jobs/internships.
Natalya Brill ‘18 is a Russian major who has been taking Russian since freshman year. Brill claims that although she has long-awaited this particular trip, she remained hopeful to travel abroad in the spring term of her junior year.
While there are many who are gravely frustrated over looing the opportunity to experience Russia first hand, many are optimistic that they can still go abroad.
It is unknown whether or noth Professor Bidoshi and the Office of International Programs will try and establish a new Russia term abroad for Russian majors and minors.
While upsetting, many say that the trip cancellation provides new insight for the school to better plan for term abroads in the wake of similar troubles.