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9. Okt 2009

Russian Patriots in an American Club

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[Text: Olga]

Are you interested in foreign countries and their cultures? If you are a participant of Media-H project, then, obviously, yes. Because in terms of our project students from Germany and Russia get to know each other, share information and knowledge. In Pomor State University there is one more organization, a club, to be precise, where people study and learn about a foreign country.

This country is even farther, than Germany – this is America. We wanted to know more about the club, its members and activities, so we all met informally and had some tea and chocolate.
Only 7 members of the American club came to our meeting. Alexey Feldt, the Dean of the History Department, was also there. It was him who founded the club in 2008. All in all there are about 16 or 17 participants, most of them are students of History Department. The club exists due to their enthusiastic activity and some grants.
The people of the American Club often meet and discuss important issues. For example, stereotypes about America and Russian-American relationship. Russians really have many stereotypes about Americans, thanks to Russian Media. But, as the members of the club told us, “We study and try to break these stereotypes”. Besides, the relationships of Russia and America, that were always far from being perfect, are getting better. In the last year or two they became more stable and friendly. At the meetings the American club members often watch American films in English and read American newspapers, which helps them to understand American culture more deeply.
During the last year, apart from meetings, there were held about 10 events, including the conference devoted to Russian-American relations. The American council also attended that conference. Another interesting project was communication by e-mails with students from Kansas. Why Kansas? Because there are activists in Kansas who study Russian culture and the culture of Asian countries. And the American consulate helped these two groups of people (one – Russian, the other one American) to find each other. E-mail exchange is also planned for the future.
There was a question why especially American (not Chinese for example) club? The students answered, first of all, they study americanistic at PSU. And in the club they have an opportunity to learn more, share some knowledge, and communicate with Americans. And also this is very interesting, because the meetings of the club are mostly informal.
We became curious if these people are patriots of Russia or they think that it is better to live in America. The answers were different. Some of the members hate (!) USA, others would like to move there. Some people are interested in America, but they are sure that they want to live only in Russia. And the others think that immigration to America is possible, but there everything will be different and alien, besides, they would have to change their way of life, and they do not want to experience that.
It is a pity that only some participants have ever been to the USA and they went with the help of programs that have nothing to do with the club. Maybe it is like this because the club is very young. Who knows – maybe soon there will be a student exchange program and all members of the club will see America with their own eyes, and come to conclusion what it really is.

Über Maria Wagner