US Cultural Mosaic - Tatiana G. Rents, Volzhsky
The Implementation of Small grant of the Fulbright program “US Cultural Mosaic,” aimed at promotion of better understanding of every aspect of American life and culture – ethnicity, politics, the arts and popular culture by the university and school students of Volzhsky, and also deepening their knowledge about the US, was carried out in the period from 14th to 18th December, 2015. Students of Volzhsky Institute of Humanities as well as school students of non-governmental educational organization “Russian-American school” were involved into daily activities held at VIH and Russian-American School.
The plan of activities developed by teachers of the Institute included a series of activities
1) a presentation about the USA and a virtual trip across the United States (history, culture, attractions, etc.),
2) a presentation on traditional celebrations in the USA (presentations, performances, traditional food, etc.),
3) Poetry Reading Competition,
4) Musical Kaleidoscope (musical sketches of the famous US musicians and singers),
5) film screenings followed by discussions,
6) the quiz “How well do you know America?” and some other activities.
December 14, 2015. According to the plan, presentations about regions of the United States (US Regions Presentations) were prepared by the 4th-year students. The event was attended by students of linguistics department and high school students. A traditional exhibition of photographs called “Capturing America,” featured photos about the visit of the U.S. teachers, students and pupils.
December 15, 2015. The presentation of the American national holidays (American Holidays Presentations) took place. 1st-, 2nd-, 3rd-year students prepared wall newspapers, crosswords and theatre performances, showed videos about the US holidays. Students from Volzhsky city schools and schools from Srednyaya Akhtuba were invited to participate in the event.
For teachers, a seminar “American television series as a source of cultural information” was held.
December 16, 2015. Poetry Reading Competition was held at which students recited poems of famous American and British poets. The winner of the contest was Simona Shishkina who recited a poem by Henry Longfellow "The Arrow and the Song". Among other winners were Yana Chervotkina and Maxim Gulyaev.
December 17, 2015. 2nd- and 3rd-year students made presentations about the most popular musicians and singers (American Folk Songs). They also participated in Traditional American Theatre Performance.
December 18, 2015. The closing of the American culture Week summed up the results of activities. Awarding of diplomas, giving letters of gratitude and prizes (see photos) to the winners of the competition as well as teachers in schools took place. The event ended with refreshments for all participants and guests of the traditional American pastries. In total, more than 100 students were involved in these events within this week.
As a result of the implementation of the project the students gained knowledge about what events, persons, facts are essential to the picture of cultural and social life of the United States, as well as deepened knowledge of cultural realities, stereotypes, value orientations, images and symbols of American culture. All this will further promote the formation of "sensitivity" and tolerance to the manifestations of the foreign culture from the part of Russian university and school students.
The organizers believe the project gave university and school students an opportunity to obtain a holistic view about America and strengthened the basis for intercultural communication.