Friday, June 24, 2016

T-minus-five (days)!

We have finally reached the point where pre-depature "To-Do" lists have more items crossed off than remain to be done. Next week, our group departs for the Altai!

Where are we going?
We will travel to the Altai Region of the Russian Federation. Barnaul, a city of 600,000, will be our home base. If you imagine a map of Asia, Barnaul is just north of the point where Russia, Kazakhstan, China, and Mongolia meet. Very few Americans travel to the Altai, and our group is fortunate to be linked with the faculty and resources of the Altai State Pedagogical University (ASPU), via their partnership with Hobart & William Smith Colleges (Geneva, New York, USA).

Why are we going?
Our generous grant from Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad (FHGPA) will enable us to study the language, culture, and history of the Altai Region for five-and-a-half weeks. A brief stop in Moscow on our way to Barnaul will enable us to contrast Russia's power center with an important, yet comparatively small and much more remote, city. FHGPA funds programs that help Americans become better acquainted with the world around them, with the intention that FHGPA participants will share their knowledge with colleagues, students, friends, and neighbors once they've returned home.

Who is going?
Our group consists of six students from Hobart & William Smith Colleges (HWS), two faculty members from the Russian Area Studies Program at HWS, and seven K-12 teachers from public schools in New York (Rochester and the Finger Lakes) and Connecticut. We have a broad range of ages, backgrounds, and interests, but all of us are looking forward to the adventures ahead!

If you'd like a sneak peek at some of our planned activities, check out the blog from last year's FHGPA Golden Altai program.