My name is Olga Litvishko. I am a post-graduate student at the Chair of Management, Social and Political Sciences of Pyatigorsk State Linguistic University. I live in the North Caucasus region which is now the border line of the Russian Federation. It is not by chance that my research is devoted to the discussion of national security issues of this country, and in the Caucasus region in particular. I became a Fulbright grantee and was invited to the University of Pittsburgh, Center of Russian and East European Studies.
The new environment was very friendly and my host university with its facilities could satisfy any demand. I enjoyed working in the library even in late hours – I was surprised that during exams the library operates 24 hours. The Office of International students was of much help. Different tours around the campus and the city familiarized me with everything I may want and need in Pittsburgh.
My academic activity was valuable for me in several ways. First, learning Political Science in America provided me with new teaching techniques that I may now use in my teaching career. I got the practical teaching experience that I was so much eager to acquire. Further, doing research and attending classes I obtained new knowledge that is sure to make a great contribution to my research paper. The ideas I address in my dissertation are focused on democratic development of Russia in one of its most complicated regions. Being a visiting researcher at the University of Pittsburgh gave me a wonderful opportunity to collect lot of information and practical recommendations on this issue. Ultimately, I see my research work as a professional stepping stone; I enjoy studying Political Science as it develops me personaly. You cannot find another place in the world better than the USA where you can improve your personal and professional skills and knowledge, where you can test your independence, confidence, self-discipline. Life in the USA gives you both a great chance and a great choice. I think I used my chance and made a right choice as the year spent in the USA left me only positive impressions.
I am grateful to the IIE staff for their work. They made it possible for my husband to join me in Pittsburgh. I also want to say lot of thanks to Moscow office, and personally to Natalia Smirnova for her constant support and assistance.