Allegheny Goes Global – Ukraine Edition

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By SARAH KROPP ([email protected])

Have you ever wanted to see the world from a new perspective? Allegheny’s Experiential Learning courses, or “EL Seminars,” offer students the chance to travel abroad with the guidance of Allegheny faculty.

For the past five years, Allegheny has sponsored an EL Seminar in the Ukraine. Professor Kenneth Pinnow, who has been a member of Allegheny’s history department faculty for 11 years, has led the trip for the past three years.

Pinnow, who received his B.A. from Duke University in History and Russian and obtained his Ph.D. from Columbia University, has been interested in Eastern Europe from a young age. He began traveling to Eastern Europe in 1986 and has returned many times since.

Pinnow is also currently involved in a related book project, “Lost to the Collective: Suicide and the Promise of Soviet Socialism, 1921-1929.” Advanced copies of the book will be released this week by Cornell University Press.

The EL course itself is based in the city of Kyiv, Ukraine, where students will attend classes at a local university. Students will also visit places like the Chernobyl nuclear accident site, see historical landmarks and cultural events, and interact with Ukrainian students, politicians and business leaders.

“The EL course to Ukraine represents a unique opportunity for students to see how history shapes the present and forms a vital part of national identity,” Pinnow said. “My hope is that they will gain a better understanding of the legacies of Soviet communism, including the damage done to the environment and public health, the transition to a democratic and market-based society, and the challenges people face in their daily lives as they adapt to new conditions and new ways of thinking.”

Billy Wisniewski, ’09, went on the most recent trip to the Ukraine in May 2008. While Wisniewski’s interests in the trip stemmed from his Ukrainian heritage, he recommends the trip to all students interested in seeing different parts of the world.

“My favorite part of the trip was being able to see different landscapes of the country,” Wisniewski said. “We spent a lot of time in Kyiv but went on day trips, like to the Chernobyl accident site and Crimea.”

Adam Napora, ’10, accompanied Wisniewski on the trip this past year. Napora offered words encouraging all students to apply to go on the trip.

“It is not just for history majors. The trip to Ukraine can be useful for many different specialties,” Napora said. “People think the Ukraine is a backwards nation but it is a modern and nice place to go.”

The Ukraine EL Seminar is offered again this coming summer and students are encouraged to apply. The deadline for application is Tuesday, Dec. 1.  It should be noted that the prerequisites listed for the EL term are only recommendations and no background in Ukrainian or Russian history is required.

Students will depart from the U.S. on May 19, 2010, and return on June 10. The cost is $4480, but the price is all-inclusive in terms of meals, travel and accommodation.

There will also be an information session about the course on Monday, Nov. 16 at 5 p.m. in Arter Hall Room 201.

For more information, interested students should contact Professor Pinnow at [email protected]

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