By the warmer May months, CIEE students have experienced all the imaginable weather variations Russia’s capricious spring likes to offer its visitors; from light flurries on a Monday, to the following Monday demanding summer clothes be worn. After four months living and studying in Russia’s capital city, these contradictions have ceased to astonish our students; they have successfully navigated the cultural peculiarities of a new environment, assimilated to their new surroundings, and gained a deeper understanding of an essential part of the customary lifestyle.
With the finish line of the semester getting closer, students are nearly finished with their final exams in all the fields they have been exploring this semester, from marketing and governance to constitutional law and US-Russia relations.
Murisa Ahmetasevic (Colorado College’16) and Claire Aubin (University of Oregon ’16) in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia
Murisa Ahmetasevic (ColoradoCollege’16) and Cathedral of Christ the Savior
CIEE students and Center Director, Irina Makoveeva
CIEE Internship seminar
This semester, the CIEE Internship Seminar offered by the Business and International Relations program has been led by Yulia Nikitina, associate professor of world politics and research fellow at the Center for the Post-Soviet Studies at the Moscow State University of International Relations (MGIMO). Through this internship seminar, students have had a chance to work on-site as well as to learn about business in the classroom. Professor Nikitina helps students to get the most out of their experience through additional papers and presentation enabling students to critically analyze and express the knowledge and skills they have gained on-site.
Murisa Ahmetasevic (ColoradoCollege’16) is attending seminars:
The internship seminar proved to be one of the most rewarding in class experiences. Taught by an amazing professor, the seminar was designed to encourage us to talk over our internship experiences and ask for support and advice, but it also had an academic component to it. We discussed topics related to contemporary Russia and international relations – topics we are greatly interested in and we could learn a lot about from Prof. Nikitina.
CIEE students and Professor Yulia Nikitina
Comparative Constitutional Law course
The list of interesting and intriguing direct enrollment courses is far from few, providing students the opportunity to explore the various fields that pique their interests. This semester, one of the courses that have captivated the interest of our students is the Comparative Constitutional Law course, led by Dr. Elena Kremyanskaya, alumni of the MGIMO and the Hague International Law Academy. Professor Kremyanskaya’s experience as a member of the Advisory Board of the Council of the Federation Committee on Constitutional Legislation, Legal and Judicial Affairs and Civil Society Development makes her a wonderful source of information and knowledge to students.
The study of Comparative Constitutional Law has deepened students’ common theoretical knowledge of Russian law, and has equipped students with the practical knowledge of orienting a different system of law, understanding constitutional basics and principles, and providing students the information needed to forecast the development of the Russian state and its institutions.
Claire Aubin (University of Oregon ’16) is enrolled in the course:
Comparative Constitutional Law is a very interesting class where we examine and compare systems of governance throughout the world, as well as their differing legal frameworks. Because the class is made up of mostly international students, we frequently present our own countries' methods of governance, which has led to some really valuable discussions and debates. It has been very eye-opening for me and I've truly enjoyed it.
Trip to the “Northern capital” of Russia
Moscow is an alluring place that will satisfy any enthusiast of Soviet art: Meandering through the streets of Russia’s capital or even using the metro, Soviet architecture and its allure is effervescent. Nevertheless, a full appreciation of Russian art and its numerous styles cannot be achieved without acquainting oneself with the tremendous architectural heritage of the imperial era. Seeking insight into the life of the eighteenth – nineteen-century Russian nobility, students journeyed to the “cultural capital” of Russia – Saint Petersburg.
Students relished the best views of the city, touring St. Isaac’s Cathedral, Church on the Spilled Blood and visiting “the cradle” of St. Petersburg, the Peter and Paul Fortress. A trip to St. Petersburg, wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the State Hermitage Museum; students spent an afternoon touring the Winter Palace and its vast collections.
CIEE students and Student Services Coordinator, Pasha Sergeev
Unlike any other evening imaginable, Moscow students joined the CIEE St. Petersburg Study Center students in the implementation of the semester’s Signature Project, the CIEE Spring Ball. Students dressed in magnificent gowns and costumes of the Russian nobles from nineteen century, and danced in traditional ballroom style – this night will forever stay in the students’ memory as a highlight of their experience in Russia.
Murisa Ahmetasevic (ColoradoCollege’16) with CIEE St. Petersburg student Ben Lourie
Claire Aubin (University of Oregon ’16):
Our trip to St. Petersburg was one of my favorite parts of the entire program. The city itself is such a stark contrast to Moscow that it almost felt like being in another country, and it really felt like a European mini-getaway, which we all loved. Getting to participate in CIEE St. Peterburg's Spring Ball was absolutely a highlight of the semester. We were able to rent really elaborate costumes and be transported back to 19th century Russia, which is definitely an experience I'm going to remember for a very long time.
CIEE students and Student Services Coordinator, Pasha Sergeev
CIEE Guest Lectures
During the spring semester, students were presented two guest lectures devoted to Russian history. Both lectures were conducted by Maria Pavlova, PhD in History from Moscow State University and Associate Professor at The Department of International Relations and Foreign Policy of Russia at the MGIMO. The first lecture, "They want great changes, we want great Russia," explored the main reforms in Russia prior to 1917. Dr. Pavlova did an excellent job of narrating pre-Soviet Russia’s winding path, covering the most notable and positive leaders, as well as those that darken Russia’s history.
Prior to the second guest lecture, students visited the Museum of Russian Diplomatic Services History, which is located in the building of Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This place is unique as it is the only museum devoted to diplomatic services in the world. It was here in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs students had the second guest lecture, “Main historic directions of Russian foreign policy”. Professor Pavlova presented the history of foreign policy and diplomatic services of Russia from the ancient times when Russia was just building its state to nowadays when international affairs is a highly complicated and comprehensive issue.
Murisa Ahmetasevic (ColoradoCollege’16) has attended both lectures:
For our guest lectures we wanted to learn more about pre-Soviet progression of the Russian society, particularly about radical reforms which shaped it. As this was a subject neither of us were well educated about, we were pleased to receive a comprehensive review of early Russian history through interactive and engaging lectures.
CIEE students and Maria Pavlova in the Museum of Russian Diplomatic Services History
CIEE students and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia
Russian Cooking Night
One of the most intriguing parts of living abroad is truly immersing oneself in the local cuisine. Our students did not only that, but also spent a decent amount of time with Student Services Coordinator, Pasha Sergeev learning to cook traditional Russian dishes. After the first couple of hours spent with intensive cooking, the table was stacked full with delicious homemade Russian meals, such as borscht, chicken Kiev, and bliny (Russian style crepes) with cranberry sauce. Now students can easily surprise their friends at home by making a delightful dinner po-russki (in Russian style).
Claire Aubin (University of Oregon ’16) has cooked borsch and chicken Kiev:
Russian cooking night was so much fun! The three of us teamed up to attempt some very traditional Eastern European recipes like blini, borsch, and chicken Kiev, and they all turned out pretty tasty. It was a really great hands-on way to experience Russian culture and I can't wait to try these recipes again.
CIEE students before deserved feast
Taking selfies while cooking!
CIEE Cinema club
This semester, CIEE hosted two Cinema Club meetings. Students watched the sensational “Leviathan” by Andrey Zvyagintsev and one of the best Soviet comedies “Ivan Vasilievich: Back to the Future” by Leonid Gayday. Students enjoyed the movies as well as discussing them with Russian students afterwards.
Murisa Ahmetasevic (ColoradoCollege’16) has attended Cinema Clubs:
The CIEE sponsored cinema club events were a great way to meet students at MGIMO and enjoy Russian cinematography. We watched contemporary films and discussed present-day Russia, and we were wowed by some Soviet comedies as well. Better yet, there was pizza, and it definitely improved the experience.
This Spring 2015 Semester was concluded with a visit to an authentic restaurant of Ukrainian cuisine. Students had their farewell dinner with Center Director, Irina Makoveeva and Student Services Coordinator, Pasha Sergeev. The evening was full of kind words of gratitude and bittersweet moments as students recollected their brightest memories of the semester and reflected on all they have experienced. In a couple of days, students will be meeting with their loved ones, as they will be greeted home after an unforgettable journey to Russia.
CIEE students, Center Director and Students Services Coordinator with their favorite Ukrainian waiter, Andrey
Murisa Ahmetasevic (ColoradoCollege’16):
It is hard to believe that our four months in Moscow are almost over. There are still so many things to see, so many things to do – this city is so big and culturally rich that our short stay here wasn’t nearly enough to fully explore it. I am sad to leave; especially now when the spring has arrived and our campus is beautifully green.
Vsego khoroshego (All the Best),
Student Services Coordinator