While the new cohort of students was already on their way to begin their spring semester abroad Russia, Moscow had already prepared a gift for these young explorers, in the form of anomalistic warm weather! This past February was officially recognized as one of the warmest Februarys in the past 50 years of Moscow’s history! CIEE Students have used this in their favor by exploring a vast number of historic sites in Russia’s capital.
Tracing History’s Footsteps
During the first week of the semester, CIEE students visited the Museum of Contemporary History of Russia. Numerous grand-scale events have occurred in Russia in the past century alone; three revolutions, the Great Patriotic War, the formation and fall of the Soviet superstate, are a few examples. Students viewed different exhibitions containing relics and pictures from this rich history, and learned about the trials and joys Russian people experienced throughout the twentieth century.
Moscow has boasted the role of capital city to the largest country in the world for more than four hundred years. Moscow’s Kremlin is one particular site has always acted as a capital’s heart. This complex was built as a defense against invaders, but though the centuries became the main political center of the country. Princes, tsars, general secretaries, and presidents of the Russian Federation have worked here on a daily basis for centuries. Nowadays, CIEE students come here to enjoy the beautiful views of the fifteenth century churches that once coronated former tsars, as well as served the place for their wedding and burial ceremonies.
Murisa Ahmetasevic (Colorado College’16) has visited the Kremlin:
"I visited Kremlin on several occasions, and I was amazed by its grandeur every single time. The awareness of being in the very heart of Moscow always makes me think about Moscow's history and the incredible expansion which resulted in one of the most populated cities in the world. Moreover, I am always very appreciative of the opportunity to tour Russia's administrative center - a center so important for the international politics and world wide economy."
Live and learn
This semester CIEE students are taking direct enrollment courses such as the Theory and History of Diplomacy, Basics of Marketing, General Management and Governance, and Comparative Constitutional Law. All these courses are part of the curriculum of the English bachelor’s program at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. It gives the students a perfect chance to not only explore a different system of education, but also to become acquainted with and exchange ideas with students of many different nationalities, as their classmates are Russians and other young people from different countries.
Claire Aubin (University of Oregon ’16)is taking three direct enrollment corses:
"We're taking classes on a variety of business and international relations-related topics with students from all over the world. School at MGIMO has been an enriching experience and has definitely helped to prepare me for a career in international relations."
The cornerstone course of the program is the CIEE Core Course “Russia and the United States in Contemporary World Politics”. The content of this course, as well as the experience studying in the heart of the city where decisions regarding Russia’s international affairs are made, help students to comprehend the internal and external factors that have influenced political decision making and behavior at the global and regional levels. Professor of the Department of International Relations and Foreign Policy of Russia, Yuri A. Dubinin, leads this course, helping students to reflect on the influence of relations between Russia and the U.S. on the situation in Eurasia.
One of the highlights of the BIR program in Moscow is the opportunity to receive valuable hands-on insights into Russian business culture through the CIEE for-credit intenship. This semester, CIEE students joined the Russian Council on International Affairs. Students complete a variety of tasks under the guidance of experienced professionals, which has given them an invaluable experience in the Russian workforce, and additionally, a perceptive understanding of how formal and informal communications are differ in the United States and Russia.
Murisa Ahmetasevic (Colorado College’16) is an intern in the Russian Council on International Affairs:
"Being able to intern at the Russian International Affairs Council is one of my favorite parts of the Moscow experience. I feel that my work is appreciated and that I am truly contributing to a local think tank."
Trip to Vladimir and Suzdal
It is impossible to explore Russia’s history without delving into the medieval era. With that in mind, CIEE students embarked on a day-trip to the cities of Vladimir and Suzdal, located in Moscow’s outskirts. These towns are included in the list of cities that comprise the Golden ring of Russia – a list of ancient towns and cities dating back to as early as the 12th century, that have preserved their rich arcitecture, and unique historic and cultural relics. In Vladimir, students had the opportunity to see the magnificent Dormition Cathedral, a venerated model for cathedrals all over Medieval Russia, as well as St. Demetrius' Cathedral, whose carved wooden exterior represents the Biblical story of King David. Visiting Suzdal, allowed students the unforgettable experience of walking through an ancient city that to this day houses nearly sixty churches built between the twelfth and nineteenth century. One of the highlights of the day, was our visit to the museum of wooden architecture. Students were impressed by the representations of seventeenth and eighteenth century wooden constructions completed without the use of any nails!
Claire Aubin (University of Oregon ’16) has traveled to Vladimir and Suzdal:
"Our trip to Vladimir & Suzdal was a really great cultural experience. It introduced us to small-town Russian life, as well as religious and cultural history."
Russian art and more!
Moscow is a favorable place for lovers of art. CIEE students visited Tretyakov gallery to enjoy paintings created by the hands of Russian masters of many different epochs and styles. Students relished the fifteenth century icons by A. Rublev, landscapes by I. Sishkin, fairytale scenes by V. Vasnetsov and symbolistic paintings by M. Vrubel. The next destination for the students was The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. Students viewed paintings and art pieces spanning a vast period. The collection includes, but is by far not limited to artwork from Ancient Egypt and Troy, sculptures by Michelangelo and paintings by Rembrandt. Both museums gave the students an opportunity to enjoy world-renowned masterpieces of both Russian and Western art.
Claire Aubin (University of Oregon ’16):
"The Pushkin Museum has an incredible collection from many different historical time periods throughout the world, all of which I really enjoyed seeing."
Russian ballet is, in short, extraordinary, and not to be missed. This spring, CIEE students put the Russian ballet to the test, by visiting a Russian ballet performance in the Kremlin Palace. The classic love story of Romeo and Juliet, familiar to all, was brought to life by the dancers of the Kremlin Palace. These dancers expressed the sorrow of this tragic love story so poignantly, it was impossible to not be moved by their outstanding performance.
Murisa Ahmetasevic (Colorado College’16 ) shares her expirience:
"Not only did we get to see amazing Russian artists perform a beautiful ballet - we got to see it at the Kremlin Theater! What I will remember about Romeo and Juliet is impeccable dancing, overwhelmingly large and overwhelmingly beautifult heater hall, and taking full body selfies in humongous mirrors which decorate the Kremlin Theater."
Game night with Russian students
CIEE Game Night has three simple rules – play board games, meet new Russian friends, and have fun! Students don’t seem opposed to these rules in the least bit, and they enjoyed the opportunity to meet Russian students from MGIMO while drinking coffee and playing Civilization in the quiet anticafe CheckPoint in the heart of Moscow’s downtown.
Murisa Ahmetasevic (Colorado College’16):
I was so happy that local students were interested in meeting us, and so surprised that so many of them decided to spend their evening with us. I made eight new friends, played a Russian board game, and got to experience the easygoing ambiance in one of locally popular anti-cafes. All that accompanies by good coffee and fresh cookies - a perfectly enjoyable experience.
S Nauluchshimi pozhelaniyami (Best wishes),
Pasha Sergeev, Student Services Coordinator
Irina Makoveeva, Center Director