Destination Ukraine for study abroad trip

Imogené Wofford, Co-Editor

Last year’s trip to Ukraine was a great experience for the students and Dr. Rodriguez (not pictured) as they traveled to Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Odesa during the summer of 2017. A new group of students will return with the professor this summer. Photo Courtesy | Robert Rodriguez Facebook

By Imogené Wofford | Co-Editor

Dr. Robert Rodriguez’s third study abroad trip will take place during the Summer I session of the 2018 school year in the Ukraine.

The study abroad trip will be taken in the Summer I session of the 2018 school year. It is open to undergraduate and graduate students. This is an academic course so students have to enroll in Ukrainian Politics and Society.

“We studied the relationship between the United States and Ukraine since the fall of the Soviet Union,” Sarah Clift, a program alumna, said. “It was a lot of fun and I would highly recommend it, especially since the program is more extensive now than it was when I went.”

Rodriguez has taken students on study abroad trips before to places such as Poland in the summer of 2016 and to Ukraine in the summer of 2017.

On the trip, students can expect to visit three cities in the Ukraine (Kharkiv, Kyiv and Odesa) while receiving three credit hours in Political Science and the Russian language. Students will receive one grade for the class, part of which will be dependent upon how well they perform in the Russian language.

“I would totally recommend it,” Emily Gruver, a sophomore political science student, said. “I never thought I would end up in Eastern Europe because it’s not one of those Western Europe destination vacation getaways, but I had a great time.”

According to Rodriguez, the Ukraine is not a typical country for tourism, but it is distinguished from any study abroad program in the United States because TAMUC has both a partnership and study abroad program in Northeastern Europe.

The first week of the summer session will be held at TAMUC where students can expect to take an extensive look at Ukrainian political history, which differs from the 2017 trip.

“You will get this massive, extensive overview so that when we get there you will already have a framework in your mind of what we’re seeing,” Rodriguez said.

Upon arrival, students will stay in Kyiv, the capital of the Ukraine, for a few days to visit historical sites. After that, the group will travel by train into Kharkiv where they will go to the university and meet with the academic dean, professors, and other students.

The classes to be taught will be language instruction classes taught by two selected Ukrainian professors, where the students will be taught the material in Russian. The students will not be taught in Ukrainian, the national language, because the region of Ukraine that the study abroad group will be stationed in speaks Russian.

The past trip had the students attending a Russian instruction class and a Ukrainian political history class in one day for several hours each whereas this year’s will have instruction taught in the Russian language for the first part of the day.

While in Kharkiv, the students will take a side excursion to Odesa where they will visit the two major features of the city: the opera house and the beach. Afterwards, the group will return to Kharkiv where they will stay a few more days, and then they will travel back to the Kiev airport to return to the United States.

“This enables [the students] to have a tremendous amount of free time in the afternoon and [they’ll] have more of an opportunity to explore the city,” Rodriguez said.

The total cost of the trip will be around $3000 plus tuition and fees for undergraduate or graduate. The cost includes airfare, room and board, museum entry fees, and transportation between the cities. To help cover the cost, the Global Programs Office will offer $1000 scholarships.

The summer I session will be from June 4, 2018-July 5, 2018 however the travel dates are between June 10-June 28. The program is set up this way because the students will have a written project due at the end of the session, after students return from Ukraine.

“I was a little bit anxious at first and thought something could go wrong, but after the whole trip, my anxiety went away,” Blake Russell said. “It was much nicer, and I just loved the trip period. It was an overall great experience.”

The application for the study abroad trip is due at the end of January, but Dr. Rodriguez stresses punctuality.

For more information regarding the trip, contact Dr. Robert Rodriguez through email at [email protected].