In an exploration of culture and language, Associate Professor of Russian Area Studies David Galloway is leading 20 students through Russia during winter break. The two trips, designed for students who speak Russian and those with limited language abilities, offer students experiences curated to their academic goals and interests.
“My goal is to be fluent in Russian by the time I graduate, so I’m looking forward to this trip and studying in Siberia next fall,” says Piper Delo ’20, who developed a connection with the Russian community during her years as a competitive ice skater. “The moment I started my work with the faculty in the Russian Studies Department at HWS, I immediately felt like it was the community I belonged in.”
The first trip took students from Moscow to St. Petersburg, making time for visits to the Red Square, iconic cathedrals, the Kremlin, museums and much in between. For those who haven’t taken classes in Russian Studies, the trip was a crash-course in one of the most influential nations on the world stage.
“The opportunity to travel with someone of Professor Galloway’s expertise is once-in-a-lifetime and I wanted to take advantage of that before I graduated,” says Ted Nappo ’18, an English major. “Studying abroad in London was such an enriching experience; I’m looking forward to gaining a greater understanding of Russia.”
During the second excursion, students are conducting research on Russian folklore with Galloway and his colleague Lena Minyonok, the chief curator of the folklore archive at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. The team is documenting rare folk songs and tales, which have become confined to the elderly in Russia’s villages.
“Students are able to see something that they wouldn’t normally experience in Russia’s cities,” says Galloway, who first conducted research with Minyonok in 2011. “These villages often don’t have running water. They very much are relics of the past.”
For Daria Stacy ’19, the folklore trip has expanded on her immersive study experiences while studying abroad in Galway, Ireland, last spring. “The folklore trip interested me because I thought it was an incredible opportunity to experience a portion of the real culture of Russia,” says Stacy, a writing and rhetoric and environmental studies double major. “It goes beyond the tourist aspects of travel, and allows students to become involved and make connections with people who live there.”