Alaina DeLeo

Alaina DeLeo is an undergraduate student at the University of Kansas, class of 2020. She is double majoring in Global and International Studies and Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies and is minoring in Russian Business and Professional Culture. She is currently studying Russian with the Siberian Studies program in Irkutsk. In the past Alaina has studied in Kishinev, Moldova with the NSLI-Y scholarship. After graduation, she plans to pursue a M.A focused on Central Asia and the Caucasus. She hopes to someday work in Russia with the US government in a career related to International Relations.

Program attended: Challenge Grants: Funding for Study Abroad

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Andrei Nesterov

Andrei Nesterov has reported on political and social issues for the Russian press as well as American outlets such as Russian Life, Worldpress.org, and Triangle Free Press. He has travelled Russia extensively and penned many stories on the "real Russia" which lies beyond the capital and major cities. Andrei graduated from Ural State University (journalism) and Irkutsk State Linguistic University (English). He studied public policy and journalism at Duke University on a Muskie Fellowship and went on to study TESOL and teach Russian at West Virginia University. He is currently working on an PhD from West Virginia University in Political Science. Andrei contributes news, feature stories, and language resources to the SRAS site, and is an overall linguistics and research resource.

Program attended: All Programs

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Charlie Bacsik

Charlie Bacsik is a third-year International Relations and Global Studies major at the University of Texas at Austin. She is minoring in Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies, with a focus on international security and energy development. Charlie will be spending two semesters with SRAS in Kiev, Ukraine and St. Petersburg, Russia. Following graduation, she intends on attending graduate school for a Masters in International Relations.

Program attended: Challenge Grants: Funding for Study Abroad

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Courtney Blankenship

Courtney, at the time she wrote for this site, was a graduate student at Syracuse University where she was earning an MA in International Relations and Certificates of Advanced Study in Security Studies and Middle Eastern Affairs. Prior to graduate school, Courtney served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco from 2018 until she was evacuated due to COVID-19 in 2020. She speaks Arabic and was learning Russian while studying abroad in Moscow with SRAS. After returning to the US, she hoped to continue building her language skills and knowledge of Russian history and culture.

Program attended: Challenge Grants: Funding for Study Abroad

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Daphne Letherer

Daphne grew up in Indiana and is a double major in Russian Studies and Global and International Studies at the College of Wooster in Ohio. She is studying Russian and Central Asian culture in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, for five weeks this summer. She aims to improve her Russian in an immersive environment, to explore a lesser-known country that is bursting with beautiful scenery, and to understand better how our beautiful planet works and how people live their lives each day. She intends to explore as much of our world as possible!

Program attended: Challenge Grants: Funding for Study Abroad

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Eirene Busa

Eirene Busa is a Master's Candidate at Georgetown University with the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies. She has a BA in History and a Minor in Middle East Studies from the College of William and Mary. She studied Russian at the NOVAMOVA Russian language school in Kiev in the summer of 2012. She is currently in Bishkek with the SRAS "Home and Abroad: Report" program.

Program attended: Home and Abroad Scholar: $10,000 to Study Abroad

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Emily Wang

Emily Wang is PhD student in the Slavic Languages and Literatures program at Princeton University. She is an editor of the Minorities Abroad Project of this site and her account will be used to post insights from multiple authors. This project is affiliated with the Association for Students and Teachers of Color in Slavic Study, a sub-group of ASEEES (the Assocation for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies). For more about her, see her site at Princeton.

Program attended: Challenge Grants: Funding for Study Abroad

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Ian Blair

Ian Blair hails from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon where he is majoring in Religious Studies and minoring in Russian. He is currently enrolled in SRAS’s Far Eastern Studies Program, hosted at Vladivostok State University of Economics and Service (VSUES). When he isn't conjugating verbs or memorizing cases, he enjoys photographing the natural and built environment of Vladivostok and being impressed with Russian smoothies. After he returns from Russia, he looks forward to completing his undergraduate thesis and possibly applying to graduate school.

Program attended: Challenge Grants: Funding for Study Abroad

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Julia Diamond

Julia Diamond graduated from Boston University in May, 2014 with a Major in International Relations and a Minor in Russian. She is currently interning at PIR Center in Moscow and studying Russian Language with SRAS at MGU. She hopes to eventually obtain a dual JD/MA degree focusing on international law and security studies, and eventually helping to form international nonproliferation/arms control policy. She is seen here on a balcony of the Roman Coliseum.

Program attended: Challenge Grants: Funding for Study Abroad

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Jonah Helwig

Jonah Helwig has been studying Russia, Eastern Europe and Eurasian history for two years at Stetson University in Florida. Having fallen in love with this region, he decided that a semester abroad would not only improve his language skills but also allow him to witness the culture firsthand. Jonah is currently studying on Policy and Conflict, a program hosted by partners SRAS and Novamova in Kyiv, Ukraine. Jonah hopes that the knowledge he gains about conflicts and possible solutions will assist him in a future career in foreign service.

Program attended: Challenge Grants: Funding for Study Abroad

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Julie Hersh

Julie, at the time she wrote for this site, was studying Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk and Bishkek with SRAS's Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She previously got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.

Program attended: Home and Abroad Scholar: $10,000 to Study Abroad

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Jonathan Rainey

Jonathan Rainey majored in History and English at Francis Marion University in Florence, SC. While at Francis Marion, he was a member of Phi Alpha Theta, National History Honors Society and worked as a reporter for The Patriot, the university's newspaper. Jonathan will be serving as an SRAS Home and Abroad Scholar in Vladivostok for the 2015-2016 school year. He is pictured here at Vladivostok's annual celebration of "Tiger Day."

Program attended: Home and Abroad Scholar: $10,000 to Study Abroad

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Josh Wilson

Josh Wilson is the Assistant Director for The School of Russian and Asian Studies (SRAS) and Communications Director for Alinga Consulting Group. In those capacities, he has been managing publications and informative websites covering geopolitics, history, business, economy, and politics in Eurasia since 2003. He is based in Moscow, Russia. For SRAS, he also assists in program development and leads the Home and Abroad Programs

Program attended: All Programs

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Katya Grigerman

Katya Grigerman is an undergraduate student at the University of Washington in Seattle. She is majoring in Political Science, and double minoring in Russian Language and Russian Culture. She is currently spending the year studying in Russia; the summer in Irkutsk, the fall in Saint Petersburg, and the spring in Moscow. After graduating, Katya hopes to work with Russia-US relations.

Program attended: Challenge Grants: Funding for Study Abroad

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Kristin Torres

Kristin Torres has studied Russian language and literature at the University of Missouri-Columbia and at the Summer Workshop in Slavic and Eastern Languages at Indiana University Bloomington. An aspiring arts and culture journalist, she has a particular focus on Eastern European film and literature. A former intern on the Arts Desk at National Public Radio in Washington, D.C. and at California and Missouri affiliates KQED and KBIA, she hopes to further develop her research and arts reporting skills on the Home and Abroad: Art program in St. Petersburg.

Program attended: Home and Abroad Scholar: $10,000 to Study Abroad

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Kathryn Watt

Kathryn Watt, at the time she wrote for this site, was a Russian and Linguistics student of The University of Edinburgh. She was also studying Russian language and Central Asian Studies with SRAS at the London School in Bishkek. Having grown up in beautiful Uzbekistan, she was delighted to return to Central Asia! Her long-term plans included pursuing a career in journalism, and getting exposure to language and culture was a core part of that pursuit. When she’s not on the move, she’s sipping a cup of tea in bonny Scotland, running along the seashore, and developing her yoga practice."

Program attended: Challenge Grants: Funding for Study Abroad

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Mikaela Peters

Mikaela Peters is a student at Rutgers University in New Jersey, where she studies Business Analytics & Information Technology, Russian, and European Studies. She will be studying Russian and Central Asian Studies in Kyrgyzstan during the 2019-2020 academic year with SRAS. Mikaela decided to seriously study Russian after visiting NASA in 2015, where she has since interned. Mikaela’s desire to enter into a career that will utilize her Russian skills while supporting the U.S. government motivated her to apply and ultimately win a Boren scholarship.

Program attended: Challenge Grants: Funding for Study Abroad

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Olivia Route

Olivia Route is an undergraduate studying Russian and International Relations at the University of Pennsylvania. She has previously spent summers in Russia and is excited to spend a semester exploring the former Soviet Union through SRAS’s Policy and Conflict program. Olivia likes running, eating, nature, and art.

Program attended: Challenge Grants: Funding for Study Abroad

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Rebekah Switala

Rebekah Switala is a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin. She is working on her Master’s degree in Central and East European Studies with specialization in women and gender. She received her BA from Western Michigan University in 2011, graduating magna cum laude, after which time she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in a women’s rights organization in North Moldova. She is studying Polish in Warsaw and is undertaking an internship at Political Critique there. She intends on pursuing a Ph.D. after completing her Master’s.

Program attended: Challenge Grants: Funding for Study Abroad

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Rebekah Welch

Rebekah Welch is a senior at University of Montana in Missoula. She is a double major in Russian and Journalism with an emphasis on photography. She is studying Russian language at NovaMova in Kiev, and am also working for the school as an intern, creating a photoblog. After a semester abroad, she hopes to become fluent enough in Russian that she can work as photojournalist throughout Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. Although she loves this area of the world, she has a passion for journalism and will go wherever the story takes her.

Program attended: Challenge Grants: Funding for Study Abroad

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Samantha Guthrie

Samantha Guthrie attends the University of Virginia, class of 2016. She is a double major in Foreign Affairs and Russian and Eastern European Studies. A Boren Scholarship recipient, she plans to work for the US government in a career related to national defense intelligence or international aid. Her research focuses on the relationship between Russians and Caucasians. She spent spring and summer 2014 in St. Petersburg with SRAS Russian Studies Abroad and Russian as a Second Language.

Program attended: Challenge Grants: Funding for Study Abroad

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SRAS

SRAS specializes in study, research, and travel abroad to Russia and Eurasia. SRAS also maintains this site and provides free info for students studying Russia and Eurasia. Explore our resources to find out more!

Program attended: All Programs

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SRAS Wikis

SRAS Wikis are maintained collectively by SRAS Challenge Grant Writers and Home and Abroad Scholars. They are meant to be continually updated repositories of information created for students and by students to best suit each SRAS location.

Program attended: All Programs

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Sophia Rehm

Sophia Rehm graduated from the University of Chicago in 2012 with a BA in Russian Language and Literature. She studied Russian in St. Petersburg in 2010 and is currently in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan as SRAS's Home and Abroad: Translate Scholar. She hopes to pursue graduate studies in Slavic Languages and Literatures, as well as literary translation.

Program attended: Home and Abroad Scholar: $10,000 to Study Abroad

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