Fulbright-Hays Scholarship Recipient Profile: Patrick Kennelly

Patrick Kennelly reflects on his semester on the Advanced Russian Language and Area Studies Program in Moscow as a Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad scholarship recipient and how everyday is an adventure in Russia. It is near impossible to bring everything you are going to need when leaving for another country, and in the first few days … Continue reading Fulbright-Hays Scholarship Recipient Profile: Patrick Kennelly

Close Encounters of the Russian Kind

"People are going to stand a lot closer to you than you're used to." It's not just Russia. Most countries outside of the United States, and some cities inside of it, lack the concept of 'personal space' as formulated by most Americans—for both cultural and, as I see it, purely logistical reasons (I can't imagine … Continue reading Close Encounters of the Russian Kind

Language Matters for Development Work

Last week my internship with the National Democratic Institute in Georgia took me to the beautiful resort town of Borjomi, where I had the unique opportunity to observe trainings for local government officials.  The topic of the training was election campaign management, and NDI flew in an American expert for the occasion – a distinguished … Continue reading Language Matters for Development Work

The Living Tajiki Language (Tajiki vs. Farsi)

As one of the few ERLP students in Tajikistan studying Tajiki, I consider myself fortunate to be able to live life through my target language every day.  Like most other participants on the program, I came to Tajikistan with a background in Farsi, the Iranian dialect of the Persian language, but not in Tajiki.  While … Continue reading The Living Tajiki Language (Tajiki vs. Farsi)

Excuse Me Please—Thank You!

We’re all acculturated with certain ideas about politeness. Early on our families, friends, teachers, and society at large all influence us and tell us very specifically how we may or may not interact with others. Before coming to Russia I hadn’t realized how often Americans excuse themselves and apologize relative to people of other nationalities. … Continue reading Excuse Me Please—Thank You!

Women’s Political Participation in Georgia

In my orientations preparing for Georgia, gender was a major topic of discussion. I learned that while society is progressing, there are still traditional biases about women and women’s' roles in Georgia. I prepared to be treated differently as a woman in the country. Some of my expectations were met consistently: men, for example, do … Continue reading Women’s Political Participation in Georgia

Why Are The Flowers Shops Open All Day?

This question has been tormenting me for the last 3 weeks in Moscow. It seems that there is a flower shop around every corner I round, whether this be in the center, right off Red Square, or on some quiet, residential street on the edge of the city. The frequency of the flower shops was … Continue reading Why Are The Flowers Shops Open All Day?

Which Way Forward?

Tajikistan, a landlocked Central Asian country of 8 million people, receives few mentions in Western media outlets. Yet a cursory tour of the country makes it clear that it has become a battleground for outside powers. Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, Russia and the US have all spent millions on development projects in Tajikistan, visibly reshaping … Continue reading Which Way Forward?