Lindsay Poss was fortunate enough to spend the summer studying at St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University in St. Petersburg, Russia. While she was in the Arts and Culture capital of Russia, she was able to immerse herself in the culture by taking classes and exploring the country. While at the university, she took Russian Language, Contemporary Life in Russia, and Russian Art. She spent her spare time exploring Russian culture by visiting museums and exploring the city of St. Petersburg. The Hermitage, Russian Art Museum, and Kunstkamera (Chamber of Oddities) along with a few others are some of the places she went exploring on the weekend and visited with classmates. Her favorite was the Chamber of Oddities, which feature a unique collection gathered by the Czar that founded St. Petersburg, Peter the Great. The cultural experience was further enriched by her visit to the Mariinsky Theater to see Macbeth, the Opera, and to the Mikahilovsky Theater to see Swan Lake, the ballet. She also had the chance to begin exploring other Russian cities including Moscow and the oldest city in Russia, Velinky Novgorod. While spending a few days in the political capital of Russia, Moscow, she was able to experience some of the political turmoil by visiting gravesites of previous leaders (Stalin, Lenin, Yeltsin) and learning about the difficult recent history. She also got to see some of the tourist attractions of Moscow, including Red Square and the Moscow Circus. Through her travels and her classes, she completely fell in love with Russian culture, history, and art. She will continue to take Russian language, and get a minor in Russian Studies. She is already excited to return.
CEE Title: Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges
Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges was an event that took place to celebrate the cultural diversity of Carnegie Mellon's campus on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The event centered on a deep discussion to stir up interest in the diversity problems at our own campus and to come up with solutions to bridge the gap between international and domestic communities. CMU's undergraduate population is approximately 30% international, and there are certainly divisions between international and domestic students ranging from language issues to cultural divides and the need to assimilate into American culture. The goal was to figure out a way to communicate the differences between domestic and international students without forcing the international population to simply adopt American culture. We wanted the focus to be on the preservation of culture and acceptance of others as part of our culture, rather than feeling comfortable with international students adopting American ideals and losing pieces of their own heritage. To come up with solutions to these issues, we created a discussion group that was centered on a set of questions defining issues such as stereotypes, and life at CMU. We invited students of all backgrounds to participate in the discussion, and encouraged staff to join as well. The contributions during discussion taught us all about diversity and the issues within our own campus.