This December, alumni of the CIEE St. Petersburg Study Abroad program returned to St. Petersburg for the CIEE St. Petersburg Student & Alumni Weekend. Alumni ranging five decades and spanning all professional spheres were welcomed by staff and students, demonstrating firsthand that CIEE alumni are a part of a diverse and global community.
Click the photo above to see more images from the weekend's events.
The weekend’s events consisted of a round table discussion with current students, a meeting with the administration of SPSU (School of Political Science), a musical party incorporating the Center’s signature project devoted to Soviet culture of the 1970s, a visit to St. Petersburg’s fascinating Faberge Museum, and informal meals at the Center’s new office, the Smolny building, and a Georgian restaurant.
“I'm so grateful to CIEE for arranging the first Alumni Weekend in St. Petersburg. As someone who has worked in Russia for many years, it was so gratifying to 'come home' to CIEE and connect with other alumni and with the students of today. It made me realize what got me started on this journey so many years ago. I felt a kindred spirit I haven't experienced in years and realized why it is still so poignant for me to be in Russia. I hope this event will evolve into an annual tradition!”
-Mordechai Rabinowitz, CIEE St. Petersburg alum, 1976
The round table discussion proved to be a highlight of the weekend. Students valued the opportunity to meet with alumni, and to learn through about how alumni have incorporated or built a career drawing on their knowledge and love for Russia and the Russian language. This inspiring discussion with like-minded individuals motivated and enthused both students and alumni alike.
Students were excited to speak to alumni about their professional careers, and to seek their advice on how to return to Russia after their study abroad experience, or incorporate Russian into their future careers in the US. Many St. Petersburg alumni are currently pursuing graduate degrees in subjects such as Russian & Eurasian studies or Russian Arts & Culture, and these alumni advised current students on pursuing graduate studies in Russia and in the US.
To assist students with the future transition from the university to professional world, alumni shared their personal paths which led them to their current positions. These first jobs out of university varied from volunteering with Russian émigrés and with a local Migration Center, to teaching English as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Russia, to cataloging Russian language books for a library in the US. Students shared their interests and gained concrete and relevant advice on how to get their feet in the door in the direction of the work they wish to pursue through volunteer opportunities, internships and jobs, and English teaching positions.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the round table discussion with CIEE students and was a tad jealous we didn't have something similar in 2011. The students I spoke to had high hopes of returning to Russia as young professionals and contributing to cross-cultural/political dialogue in whatever way they could, whether it be through the arts, government, or private business. This commitment I saw to seeing our two countries reconcile and collaborate will hopefully have a big, positive impact in the near future.”
-Nick Miyares, CIEE St. Petersburg alum, 2011
Learn more about our past alumni events, and upcoming opportunities to connect with CIEE alumni, at ciee.org/alumni/events.