For the sixth time since 2006, Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ Russian Area Studies program has been awarded a Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
The $97,410 grant will fund an intensive six-week seminar during the summer of 2020, focusing on advanced Russian language and culture in the Siberian city of Barnaul, where HWS Russian Area Studies also maintains its semester student exchange. The grant will cover 100% of in-country expenses for travel, accommodations, food, courses and group excursions.
Students will take rigorous Russian language and cultural studies classes while in Barnaul, and travel to the Altai mountains region, which borders Kazakhstan, China and Mongolia.
The program offers advanced students an opportunity to make “significant gains in language and makes for a more interesting and intensive program, since we no longer need to spend grant funds on interpreters for field trips,” says Associate Dean for Curricular Initiatives and Development David Galloway P’23, who has led three previous summer programs to Siberia, and helped write this year’s proposal.
“We also have incorporated official testing at the end of the program under the TRKI (Test of Russian as a Foreign Language) protocol, which gives students an official certificate and knowledge of how they score on the Russian educational scale. This is very useful for them applying for any position which expects Russian proficiency, and is a new addition to the program this summer which we will continue in future years,” he says.
This year’s Fulbright-Hays proposal was co-written with Howard University, as was the 2018 proposal (along with Syracuse University and SUNY Binghamton).
Including previous group projects in 2006, 2009, 2015, 2016 and 2018, the HWS Russian Area Studies program has earned more than $535,000 in Fulbright-Hays grants, and more than $1.2 million in external funding since 2004.
Associate Professor of Russian Area Studies Kristen Welsh, who led seminars to Russia in 2009 and 2016, will serve as project director for the 2020 program.