French Connections in Russia

Students in the Europe: East & West program ventured to Moscow for a long weekend.

Originally published in Spring 2012

This spring, 13 students embarked on an adventure that would bring them from Chicago to Paris to Moscow and back again, as part of the Europe: East & West Program. In Moscow for a long weekend, the students visited sites such as the Kremlin, the Mayakovsky Museum, and Izmailovsky Park, in addition to attending a performance of The Golden Cockerel at the Bolshoi Theater.

Commenting on her experience in the program, Hana Erkou, a third year International Studies major, remarked, “We have been fortunate enough to be able to read novels and poems written by French and Russian authors that revealed to us French and Russian culture. I was able to find many similarities between French and Russian culture through the characters' lives in the novels and the films that we watched. Eastern and Western cultures, because I was inclined to believe they were polar opposites, became more relatable from the textual standpoint.”

Each year, participants in the program come to Paris to spend the spring quarter studying the long tradition of cultural exchange between France and the Slavic countries. This year, Professor Lina Steiner’s course on Paris as a site of revolution and the development of modernity was followed by Professor Robert Bird’s “Paris/Moscow: the Spectacular City,” which allowed the students to examine literary reflections of urban life in these two major metropolises. To conclude, Professor Matthew Jesse Jackson taught a course on the art of several avant garde movements in both Western and Eastern Europe.

Photo courtesy of Hana Erkou, '13

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