The Melikian Center for Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies, housed in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University, is expanding its global opportunities for students with funding received last year from the U.S. Department of Education.
In 2022, the center was designated as a National Resource Center and given $1.9 million in program support to expand public outreach through partnerships and broaden access for students in all fields to learn more about the region's languages, politics and cultures.
The funding has allowed the center to increase the range of programs, including developing immersion programs in countries across central and east Europe.
“Intensive study abroad can open new perspectives on the world for students, especially those who’ve had limited opportunities to travel or learn languages,” said Keith Brown, center director and professor at the School of Politics and Global Studies.
Immersion programs with May 1 application deadlines, offered by the center’s Critical Languages Institute, include intensive language programs in Albania, Armenia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, the Kyrgyz Republic and Uzbekistan.
Each program will be led by individuals who are native speakers of the languages they teach. The programs allow first-year students and any student studying at the 200-level or above to extend their knowledge and cultural expertise.
The programs include four weeks of study in-country, immersed in the country’s culture, language and lifestyle.
The center also offers introductory programs online and on ASU’s Tempe campus in 14 languages.
“Whether students want to put their language skills to use or primarily want to gain new perspectives on pressing global issues, these courses showcase ASU’s expertise in Russia, Eurasia and East Europe, and the university’s commitment to global engagement,” Brown said.
Students can also explore the region of North Macedonia and Greece in the “Cities, Nationalism and Borders in Macedonia” program from May 29 through June 12. During the trip, students will analyze the effects of nationalism on the physical landscape, including border crossings and the built environment of major cities in the two countries. The deadline to apply to this program has been extended to March 7.
Another way students can get involved is in the "War and Culture in Central Europe: Empire or Liberal Democracy?" program in August. This immersive experience is a collaboration between the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership and the School of International Letters and Cultures. The program traces Romania's pivotal role across the past two centuries, between the Hapsburg and Ottoman Empires, as a member of the Soviet Union's Warsaw Pact and now part of the EU and NATO.
ASU alum Tatum James pursued a study abroad program through the Melikian Center, studying Albanian through the Critical Languages Institute. James said her experience helped ignite her love of language learning and her interest in the Balkan region.
Now, because of the center's federal funding, students can expand their knowledge without worrying about finances by applying for grants and scholarships.
Brown said the Department of Education funding includes Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships for students, including summer awards of up to $7,500, which cover the cost of most of the overseas language programs.
“Faculty-directed programs led by Melikian Center affiliates are an important part of ASU’s mission to expand access and inclusion for students to study abroad from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds,” said Noah Rost, director of the Global Education Office at ASU.
“The Global Education Office is particularly excited about these programs as they are providing students the opportunity to study in important areas of the world that they might not otherwise engage with on their own.”
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