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On August 7-10, 2019 the IIE Headquarters in New York hosted this year's seminar for participants of the Fulbright Faculty Development Program (FFDP) 2019-20.

Participating from Russia, Maxim Bulanov, tutor & co-founder of the Open Education Project MESTO, has shared hois first impressions from the States:

«Our first day was all about working with colleagues from the Institute of International Education. Participants learned basic rules and tips on facilitating and making their stay in the country as useful as possible. In the afternoon, participants went to the very heart of Manhattan to attend the «Come from Away» musical, a story about residents of Gander, little town on the coast of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, who harboured 7000 passengers from different flights that were forced to land there on 9/11. The show was incredible and those two magical hours touched our very hearts.

The second and third days were filled with intense labour. David Schwarzer, professor of the Montclair State University, presented valuable materials and recommendations on various approaches to syllabus design in American universities. We asked questions, argued, exchanges our knowledge on approaсhes practiced in our home universities. We also studies sample syllabi from American universities, figuring out standard traits and interesting solutions in order to utilize them in our own methods. At the end we worked on drafting our own course syllabi to shape out the scope of work that lay ahead of us in the following 5 months.

Of course, we went on a couple of dates with New York. The Statue of Liberty, the 9/11 Memorial, Financial District and Williamsburg, the subway, the bridges, ships and parks. It was love at first sight.

On August 10, all of us set out to different states to begin our projecs - designing syllabi in such disciplines as English as a Foreign Language, Tutorship, Media Education, Medicine, Economics. We also set out to learn more about the country and engage in cultural exchange; set out in hope to meet again in January 2020 to present our results to each other.

I headed to Indianapolis, Indiana, to work on my course project at the Institute of Education of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). Apart from licensing and providing advanced training to teachers and faculty in the state, the Institure is implementing two federal projects. One of such projects is Great Lakes Equity Center that supports local and state education institutions in Illinois, indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wiskonsin, as well as research on nature and effect of such interstate partnerships. Another project is «The Community Self-Empowerment Program» aims to strengthen the Burmese community's capacity to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate support to individuals and families displaced from Burma and relocating to Indiana. The 3-year prjoect is financed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Administration for Children & Families, Office of Refugee Resettlement. Thus, my colleagues work on complex studies of how the inclusive educational environment is arranged. How does one build such an environment and ensures equal accessibility? This is what I intend to learn about, in addition to getting more insight into tutor assistance provided to students in Indiana's educational institutions."

Photos by Maxim Bulanov