Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Alumni Update: Malina Dumas

I had a great experience this past summer at the American Home working on the film "Vladimir: A Short Video Introduction" for Serendipity-Russia. When I arrived, the English teachers for the 2009-2010 academic year were still in town teaching summer courses, and I was happy to be reunited with my friend Carly Chenoweth from Wellesley College as well as to meet the others. They helped me explore the city at night while I studied its history and worked on my project during the day. I was also able to sit in on Carly's class to get a better idea about how the English program is run and I was very impressed. After the American teachers left, I got to know some of the Russian students who take courses at the American Home and they became close friends. (The picture above is me with my friend Alyona.) They taught me about student life in Vladimir, provided advice for my film, and gave me lots of practice with my Russian. Between conversations with them and with my wonderful host mother that the American Home set me up with, my Russian improved a great deal even though I wasn't taking any formal lessons.

Now I'm in Chisinau, Moldova conducting research on human trafficking through a Fulbright grant. I'll have plenty of opportunities to use all the slang my Russian friends taught me because just about everyone in the city speaks Russian fluently and I've heard plenty of students start sentences with "блин" already. In addition to my research project, I will also be called upon to give presentations about American culture and lead English discussion groups and I know I will think back to what I observed in the American Home when I prepare for those meetings. Thanks to Dr. Ron Pope and the staff of the American Home for giving me this internship opportunity and helping me with the project.

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