My name is Andrey Bobylo. In 2006 I was graduated from Far-Eastern National Technical University, department of International relations. I’ve been working as Director of foreign affairs department in FENTU since 2006. In 2008 I was finalist of Russia International Education Administrators Fulbright program (RIEA 2008) and now I’d like to share my experience with you.
In the beginning there are several words about the program itself. First of all, I’d like to note that this program for International Education Administrators is rather unique by its nature, because there are no any professional trainings for specialists of like that in Russia and at present time all the policy in this field is generally defined as conducting in Russia a few seminars for several times a year, which are aimed the experience exchange.
According to the fact that in recent years there is a great interest to international education all over the world, the brand new RIEA Fulbright program gives a brilliant prospective for experience exchange and growth of specialists’ professional skills.
It recently seemed that you were worried about the last preparations before your departure and long way to America, but you finally left the plane, performing the flight Moscow-New-York and set your foot in America’s land. All your relatives, friends and familiar Russia were left far away, the another world, new people with their cultural values and three months of upcoming practical training are in front of you.
It is generally accepted to speak about the “culture shock” between the Americans, the period of adaptation to new conditions, when the person feels himself or herself alone and another culture is seemed to be antagonistic for this person. This period is different in its forms and continuance for every person. As for me, I didn’t feel any discomfort, because I often go abroad and have already acquired “cosmopolite stereotype”. The most important thing in this situation is to remember that Americans are the same people like we, very friendly and hospitable. The first days of your staying in the USA you should devote to getting the acquaintance with culture and traditions of Americans and their country.
Columbia University, New-York
I think that each of RIEA participants keeps great impressions about that day when they got ID of Columbia University. It meant that you became a part in one of the most prestigious centers of international education.
It’s rather difficult to be a student again, attend the classes and make the home assignment, but the best way to know about challenges of international students is to become an international student.
The classes in Teachers College are based on the principles of discussion and during all the class students regularly discuss various situations, ask the questions, share their own experience with teacher. It’s important because as a result of positive dialogue all the information becomes more comprehensible. Different articles and issues are offered for students’ self-preparation. All the classes are taught by professional and good qualified staff.
The second part of studying process is connected with visiting the Universities campuses in New-York and on the neighborhood. During these two months of staying in New-York we visited about 20 universities in New-York, New Jersey, Washington D.C. It’s also very important, because there is an opportunity to compare, establish new contacts, share the experience.
Seminars in the Institute of International Education (IIE).
Once a week you have to visit Institute of International Education (IIE), where you will discuss week events, tell about your impressions, coоrdinate your working plans for future. The main purpose of these arrangements is coordination and control of your working schedule, which is planned by IIE for your convenience. It contains the information about all the events, time and places you need to visit. Also IIE is responsible for another items such as: medical insurance, registration, financial and logistic expenses, participation in the conferences and others.
After IIE selection on the last month of the program I went to
University of Kansas (KU), Lawrence, where I worked at the Office of international programs. Lawrence is a small student town, its population is about 80 thousands people, the majority of who are students or teaching staff of KU.
In comparison with New-York, which never sleeps and its impulsive rhythm of life, Kansas life is rather calm and quiet.
On the evenings the Americans usually watch TV or go to different cafeterias, a great part of which are in Downtown. Also almost all the population is great fan of basketball, because it was Lawrence where the person who invented and developed this kind of sport lived.
Almost everybody is a fan of University team КU Jayhawks, awarded the title of National champion 2008. When I came to KU it was a hot season, because all the final games of National basketball championship were played that time and I also became KU Jayhawks fan.
During this month which I spend at KU, I got acquaintance with many interesting people, dealing with international education, visited different departments of international services, which are responsible for different directions (accommodation of international students, study abroad center, classes of international students, visa and registration, safety) not only at KU, but also at the Universities on the neighborhood in Kansas City, Linkoln (Nebraska). Together with KU administration and Department of foreign affairs we signed Agreement of cooperation between our universities, which gives good opportunities for joint activity.
Returning to Russia.
But three months of the practicum have passed insensibly and quickly and it was time to return to Russia. Before the departure all the group met together in New-York for three days to share the acquired experience to each other in IIE.
It is likely possible to speak a lot about American system of education and peculiarities of every university. As for me, what I‘ve acquired for myself there in the USA is undoubtedly brilliant experience, because I didn’t only learn the newest and contemporary approaches to international education, but also during this time I got acquaintance with many interesting people, professional specialists, met new friends among the colleagues from Russia and the USA. And this is very important, because all the relations are usually based on personal contacts of people, who make international policy of university, that is to say such people as we are. I’d like to recommend to all specialists who dealing with international activity in Russian universities to take part in RIEA Fulbright program.