Learners from Ohio University, Russia form community

A team of learners from Ohio University and a Russian college spent their summer season in a most uncommon way — using part in an extracurricular encounter called the Bobcat-Crow Cultural Trade Lab and shifting over and above stereotypes to kind their own community.

Named soon after the mascots of the two universities, the lab introduced jointly 26 learners in a weekly cross-cultural exchange on Zoom, wherever they shaped their digital community.

A crow is the mascot of the National Investigate College – Higher College of Economics – PERM (HSE Perm). The OHIO pupils included intercontinental college students from Oman and Japan who are in the Ohio Software of Intensive English (OPIE), as perfectly as undergraduates from a variety of majors.

For the duration of 60-minute virtual exchanges, OHIO and HSE Perm learners shared their views on matters this kind of as cultural values, the American and Russian instruction programs, stereotypes, nationwide symbols, and vacations.

“My expertise with the Bobcat Crow Cultural Exchange was extraordinary, I have uncovered that the stereotypes and ambiguous information about Russia that we from time to time see and listen to in the media are not correct at all,” mentioned Khalan Al Hinai, an Environmental Health and fitness Science key. “Furthermore, from our side we shared a range of American lifestyle areas this sort of as the American delicacies, life-style, and education. Right after owning this one of a kind expertise, I definitely feel that if you want to know about specific men and women, will not hear about them, but listen to from them.” 

The energetic on the internet classes highlighted video games, surveys, mini-displays, breakout rooms and massive team conversations, and contributors identified some shocking commonalities and discrepancies. Just after just about every session, college students crammed in a limited survey with responses and stick to-up queries. Gerry Krzic, OPIE director, acquired a grant from the American Councils’ initiative for progressive digital discovering ordeals built to foster collaboration in between U.S. and Russian universities.

“It was certainly an enlightening encounter that still left me more professional about Russian students and Russia. It over-all manufactured me fully grasp the significance of connecting with people today from various cultures to turn out to be a nicely-rounded particular person,” stated Sarah O. Ladipo, a philosophy big and a college student trustee on the OHIO Board of Trustees.

The program also aided to build students’ management abilities, with each and every session getting led by students from equally universities. 4 faculty customers, two from HSE Perm and two from OHIO, led the software and experienced pre-preparing conferences with scholar leaders prior to the total group periods, observed Rebecca Challenger, OPIE professor of instruction. The faculty from the HSE Perm were Tatiana Permyakova and Marina Sheveleva.

“The intention of the Bobcat-Crow Cultural Trade Lab was to increase cross-cultural knowledge amongst young individuals in Russia and the U.S.,” Krzic stated. “The method was also promoted in a presentation at the ‘Neighbors in Research’ conference hosted by HSE Perm in Could. They invited us due to the fact of our innovative use of technology to develop a ‘virtual neighborhood,’ and we appear ahead to making on the momentum we have developed.”