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Alternative
Spring Break
2013 &
Beyond
David Johnson
Lecturer in Russian, Vanderbilt
University
Coordinator–on the American
side–of Serendipity’s (American Home) Alternative Spring Break program,
Writing Exchange, Intensive Russian, as good as associated programs
During
March 2013 7 students from 6 American universities outlayed their spring
break volunteering as good as assisting others in dual Russian towns, Vladimir and
Murom.  In Vladimir, together with
students from Vladimir State University, we spotless up as good as dry walled tools of
a brand brand new unit purchased by the Vladimir Handicapped Children’s Association Svet (“Light”).  The unit will be used by immature people
with assorted disabilities who have been guidance to live independently.  The organisation in Murom worked during the Murom
Institute, assisting their Russian counterparts use conversational
English.  They additionally worked with the
Institute expertise to hope for enlightening materials for the English language
program.
Aaron
Bateman, who participated in the Vladimir project, has created the brief
reflection about his experience.
The links
below will take we to the single more information, photographs, internal television
news reports as good as essays from the little of the participants in the 2012 as good as 2013 ASB
programs.
For
information about the American Home’s 2014 Alternative Spring Break Program,
please hit me (david.matthew.johnson@vanderbilt.edu).
Pictures:
Blog:
Russian Television
Reports:
Alternative Spring Break–2013
Aaron Bateman
Now which we have been behind in the
Sates for the little time, we have been means to simulate upon my American Home-sponsored
Alternative Spring Break outing to Vladimir as good as all the positively amazing
experiences we had, including  the people
I met. This was my second outing to Russia, though my initial time on vacation Moscow,
Vladimir, as good as Suzdal. Three years ago we trafficked to Kazan, the collateral of
Tatarstan, to investigate Russian, as good as we fell in adore with the country, culture, and
people.       
When we flew out of Philadelphia for
Moscow this past March, we was shaken though additionally unequivocally fervent to go behind to the
beautiful as good as puzzling land which is Russia.
I recollect seeking out the aircraft
window as we approached Sheremyetevo airfield observation the area surrounding
Moscow lonesome by the pleasing sweeping of snow. After we landed, it felt surreal
walking by the brand brand new general depot as good as fast acclimating to just
about all being in Russian. Our module coordinator, David Johnson, a
lecturer in Russian during Vanderbilt University, as good as the alternative American students
participating in this Alternative Spring Break program,  Miya, Ariel, as good as Carissa, were the welcome
sight.
Shortly after my arrival, we
boarded the outpost as good as began the we estimate 3 1/2-hour mass departure to Vladimir.
When we arrived in Vladimir, we must
say we was the bit distressed since we did not unequivocally know what was in
store.  The prolonged outing had of march been
tiring; as good as we didn’t know any of the people we was roving with or any of the
Russians we were about to meet.  However,
when we met my horde family, we rught divided felt during home. My horde mom had the hot
cup of tea watchful for me, as good as she pronounced to me in Russian which she longed for me to
feel gentle as good as utterly during ease. 
            My
nineteen-year-old horde brother, Sasha, studies during Moscow State University. My
first night in Vladimir he took me to Uspensky Sobor (Assumption Cathedral),
and we contingency contend which we was positively overwhelmed. It was the single of the most
beautiful sites we have ever seen. we felt similar to we had entered the time appurtenance and
travelled behind 900 years.  I felt the presence
of story in the approach which we have never prior to gifted anywhere else in the
world.

 Night perspective of Vladimir’s Assumption Cathedral
            The next
day the alternative Americans as good as we went to the American Home.  Since we weren’t nonetheless informed with the city,
our Russian horde family groups showed us the way. 
We were met by the Home’s smashing staff as good as the little of the Russian
students who had volunteered to outlay the week with us. we can overtly contend that
the staff there unequivocally felt similar to family as good as treated with colour us as such. They took
excellent caring of us.  This enclosed the
Russian denunciation teachers, Tanya as good as Nelli, who were so studious as good as kind.
            Shortly
after nearing during the site where we would be on condition which the proffer labor, we
were put right to work . We hauled concrete, intoxicated walls, spotless as good as even
gave reduced interviews for the little internal Russian TV stations. All in all, it was
hard work, though the lot of fun. We had multiform “Russian breaks” which enclosed tea
and desserts; we additionally became proficient with the Russian students who had
volunteered to work with us, the little of whom we still Skype with regularly. It was
rewarding to see how gratified the Russian counterparts were to be operative with
us, as good as how we unequivocally seemed to have the certain stroke in the reduced time we
were there.

Aaron during work with dual of the Russian tyro volunteers

Nobody starved….

The Russian-American team
            In addition
to the proffer work, we had the miraculous time on vacation chronological locations
around Vladimir as good as Suzdal. Few Americans can contend which they have traced the
steps of Catherine the Great by the Golden Gates of Vladimir or stood in
the place where the Mongols breached the city’s defenses multiform centuries
earlier.  In addition, for the initial time
in my hold up we went skiing in the tiny encampment outward Vladimir.  I fell the integrate times, though it was definitely
a noted experience, in partial since we enjoyed the smashing “Russian
barbeque” during the finish of the cross-country ski.           

The 2012 ASB organisation additionally had the novice
skier who fell the series of times
            At the end
of the trip, after observant most unhappy goodbyes, my horde brother, Sasha, took me on
a reduced debate of Moscow prior to we done my approach behind to Sheremetyevo  airport.
            I cannot
adequately demonstrate my feelings as we stood in front of the iconic St. Basil’s
Cathedral or as we
walked usually the couple of feet divided from the burial ground of Ivan the
Terrible inside the Kremlin. 
   St. Basil’s Cathedral, Mosco

            My time in
Vladimir during Spring Break 2013 was the single of my biggest hold up experiences. Not
only since we was means to knowledge an additional dimension of this pleasing and
mysterious land, though since we was means to beginner the little great friendships.
David Johnson did an glorious pursuit receiving great caring of us as did the Russian
host family groups as good as the alternative Russians we outlayed time with.
            I highly
recommend this program. But we contingency advise we which once we get the ambience of
Russia, we might unequivocally good be bending for life!




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