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. 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.

SiberiaX SW


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Siberia by Southwest Digital Projects:

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 

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)

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)

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)

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)

Teaching Foreign Language: A Case Study from Irkutsk, Russia 

Alex Garrofolo

Irkutsk Through the Prism of Souvenirs 

Leah Kennedy and Aziza Cunningham 

Tourism in Irkutsk  Emily Schiemann

Open Windows: Soundscapes of Irkutsk Madeline Styskal 

Valentin Rasputin and Farewell to Matyora  Theodore Warner

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.