Russian Fulbright visits Appalachian


The Appalachian Online

The Appalachian

Appalachian State University welcomed Elvira Kaminskaya, a Fulbright scholar from Russian international education exchange partner, Novgorod University on March 2.

The Fulbright program is a federal project designed to create mutual understanding between people of the United States and the world. The program’s prevailing theme is to promote the exchange of ideas and cultures between international partners.

As one of eight Russian International Education Administrators chosen to participate in the Fulbright program, Kaminskaya has embarked on several components of the program itinerary.

One of the components is a networking week, which includes traveling to each of Novgorod’s exchange partners, in hopes to learn from their respective programs, while bringing her own knowledge to each university.

Although Kaminskaya said that it’s not in her power to directly alter the structure of her university, she did observe many promising practices that she felt would be applicable to her home International Education Program.

“I was talking with INTAPP and other student organizations, and I believe these are great examples of how students can support administrative efforts to encourage studying abroad,” she said.

INTAPP, or International Appalachian, is a program that works alongside the office of International Education and Development to assimilate international students into campus, while simultaneously bringing international awareness and understanding to Appalachian.

Kaminskaya said she was intrigued by the ways that Appalachian’s campus organizations worked with international students to make them feel comfortable during what could be a culture shock.

“These programs help integrate the international students effectively,” Kaminskaya said. “The most surprising thing to me is the effort on the students behalf, especially the money that is raised by these clubs for things like scholarships. This is definitely something that I will take home with me.”

To integrate international students, Novgorod University holds orientations and tours on and around the campus as well as several cultural nights and intensive language classes.

Adam Julian, the Interim Director of International Student and Scholar outreach had the opportunity to work alongside Kaminskaya during her stay. Julian said people are often centered around the idea of exchange as a two-way street between the United States and an international partner, although Kaminskaya looked at it differently.

“Dr. Kaminskaya allowed us to take on an outsider’s perspective from the Russian point of view in regards to the differences, the advantages and the challenges that they have in the system of higher education in Russia,” Julian said.

Julian said she also taught him about the benefits of his own university.

“She also really helped us understand the different ways in which students can take advantage of the partnership that this university has with Russia,” Julian said. “During her stay we were able to become more aware of the benefits of both the Russian and American systems of higher education.”

STORY: Jordan Boles, Intern News Reporter