First Steps Toward a Lasting Partnership
Specialists of the HSE Centre for Youth Studies met with colleagues from the University of Georgia to discuss prospects for collaboration. They discussed the possibilities for development of academic exchange, summer schools, internships and a ‘Social Analysis of Youth’ track in the Master’s programme ‘Modern Social Analysis’.
About half a year ago, Victoria Hasko, Director of the Russian Flagship Programme and Professor of the College of Education at the University of Georgia, contacted the HSE Centre for Youth Studies (CYS) with a proposal for cooperation between two institutions.
This March, the delegation from HSE University – St Petersburg headed to Athens, Georgia (USA) to meet their counterparts. The visit proved to be both eventful and promising.
Studying Young People and the Russian Language
The first meeting with Brian Watkins, the Director for International Partnerships, and Noel Fallows, Associate Provost of International Education, focused on academic exchange.
‘We discussed possible collaboration on summer schools. For several years in a row, the CYS has hosted a summer school for students from the University of Birmingham. They come to learn Russian, live with host families, get acquainted with the culture, and attend a course on youth research. American colleagues grew interested in this programme, and summer schools are our first jumping-off point,’ says Alina Maiboroda, a Junior Research Fellow at the CYS.
The parties discussed options for academic exchange, in particular, organisation of lectures, seminars and full courses for students and researchers of the University of Georgia. This is an important step in youth research development, which involves the exchange of scientific experience.
Studying and Working
Andrew Potter, the Director of University Experiential Learning, spoke about the ‘learning by experience’ programmes that are implemented at the University of Georgia. Students go to the country for a year, where they not only study, but also work in their field of study. The programme is very popular as it gives students an opportunity to understand whether they want to pursue additional training in their chosen field. The CYS is prepared to offer internships in this programme.
During the visit, HSE specialists got to meet with students and become familiar with the CYS itself, and with the results of some of its research projects.
Yana Krupets, the Deputy Director of the CYS, told participants about the youth labour market in Russsa, Alina Maiboroda discussed the youth cultural scenes of the Russian cities, and Elena Omelchenko, the Director of the Center for Youth Research, presented an overview of the youth research in Russia that has been carried out for over the past 20 years.
‘Students were surprised by the number of informal youth associations in Russia. American universities are located on campuses where students not only attend classes, but also have opportunities, or even obligations, to visit communities of interest. The range of those communities is wide – from a Tolkien fan club to organizations that help the homeless. This allows you to build ties within the university and to contribute to the community,’ says Alina.
On one of the days, films created by the CYS were screened for students and staff of the university.
Visual materials and sketches of several works dedicated to young people in Russia, were presented in the hall of alternative cinema. Prior to watching, Dmitry Omelchenko, a Filmmaker and an Analyst at the CYS, told audience members about the process of making sociological documentaries.
The visit also included a round table on alcohol and drugs as a social problem in America and Russia, as well as a meeting with students who study Russian.
Helping the City
Athens is a small city with a population of just over 100,000 people, where the university campus of 40,000 students is located. In fact, the city centre is essentially the university with a well-developed infrastructure.
‘We were introduced to the Children's Community Centre, which is supervised by the university. Once a week, volunteers help children with homework, organise creative activities like playing the ukulele or modeling playdough. This is an example of local assistance that the university, together with teacher and student volunteers, provide in the city,’ says Alina.
In late April, colleagues from the University of Georgia will be coming to St Petersburg on a return visit. They will get acquainted with the CYS and the HSE campus in St Petersburg, which will be the next stage in the development of the partnership.
The University of Georgia is a state university in the United States. Established in 1785, its city-like campus is located in Athens. The university has been ranked as one of the best universities in the US, and is among the top-400 in the world. The University of Georgia ranks highly in Art and Humanities, Life Sciences and Medicine, Social Sciences and Management, Chemical Sciences, and Economics and Business.
Junior Research Fellow
Elena L. Omelchenko