Slavic and Eurasian Studies

Siberia by Southwest (Irkutsk) Digital Projects Showcase

Sat, November 3, 2018
Siberia by Southwest (Irkutsk) Digital Projects Showcase
"Language and Culture of Modern Buryats" Digital Project

CREEES and the UT Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies are proud to share the results from our “Siberia by Southwest: An Intensive, Project-Based Russian Immersion” study abroad program last summer. The program was funded by a U.S. Department of Education long-term Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad (GPA) Advanced Overseas Intensive Language Training grant for 2018.

The Siberia by Southwest program included travel to Irkutsk (with excursions to Lake Baikal, Moscow and St. Petersburg) for undergraduate and graduate students as well as K-12 educators from across the American Southwest. Participants spent 10 weeks studying at Irkutsk State University in South Central Siberia, immersed in intensive language training and project-based learning. As part of the curriculum for the experiential learning project course, they created digital deliverables documenting their active learning experience for future classroom and research use.

Siberia by Southwest Digital Projects:

  1. The Legacy of the Decembrist Exiles – Olivia Sullings (recent graduate of UT Austin with a BA in Anthropology), Sam Marek (recent graduate of Texas A&M University, double major in History and Russian), Nicholas Kinler, and Patrick Arnold 
  2. The Omul of Lake Baikal: An Endangered Icon of Siberia – Lane Peery (recent graduate of Texas A&M University majoring in Russian with a minor in Biology)
  3. Language and Culture of Modern Buryats – Eliza Kenyon (Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies [REE] and Linguistics student at UT Austin), Nikki Grant (REE and Linguistics student at UT Austin), Nikidrea Rey (graduate student in CREEES MA program at UT Austin)
  4. Memories of Irkutsk – Matt Maldonado (third-year undergraduate student at UT Austin, double majoring in Government and REE), Nick Hemlock (graduate student at UT Austin in the CREEES MA program)
  5. Siberian Soul Food: the History and Changing Culture of Pelmeni – Margaret Mary Henry (world languages K-12 teacher at the Mississippi School for Math and Science)
  6. Teaching Foreign Language: A Case Study from Irkutsk, Russia - Alex Garrofolo
  7. Irkutsk Through the Prism of Souvenirs - Leah Kennedy and Aziza Cunningham 
  8. Tourism in Irkutsk  - Emily Schiemann
  9. Open Windows: Soundscapes of Irkutsk  - Madeline Styskal 
  10. Valentin Rasputin and Farewell to Matyora  - Theodore Warner
  11. Motives for Studying Chinese and Russian in Irkutsk   - John Stanko

Project groups were asked to form their topics based on interest or umbrella categories, such as history, culture, business/industry/commerce, environmental studies or language/education. On-site UT faculty curriculum coordinator (and UT Russian instructor) Evgenia Wilkins mentored students in the selection, design, and execution of group projects. Peer mentors from Irkutsk State University assisted participants with local contacts, information related to their projects and presentation preparation. In the course of the project completion, participants acquired skills in research, time and information management, translation and collaboration skills.

The goal of these projects was to allow participants to connect their own academic or professional interests to their language and area studies training program. The digital outcomes of these projects will be hosted on the CREEES website and circulated among institutional partners in Russian and across the southwestern US.

 

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