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UMW begins exchange program with Russian university

Starting this spring, the University of Montana Western will host a group of students from across the world as the university kicks off the beginning of a study abroad exchange program.

A group of students from Perm State University in Russia will attend several classes at Montana Western throughout the spring and next fall. The students will take classes ranging from business to history to English courses.

While in Dillon, the Russian students will take in the offerings of the local community. The students are slated to visit the ghost town Bannack, local ranches, schools and service groups. Host families will provide students with housing.

The students will also teach about their culture during the International Food Fair on Feb. 21., and other on-campus events including a “A Photographic Tour of Perm, Russia” on Feb. 25.

The Perm State exchange program got on its feet with the help of the many different Montana Western departments including admissions, financial aid and the business office. English professor Danielle Jones helped initiate the discussion when she was teaching at Perm State last year. While there, the Perm State international department approached her about the possibility of a student/faculty exchange. This past fall, the necessary documents and arrangements were made thanks to a collaborative effort across the campus.

In the spring of 2015, UMW students and other Dillon community members will get their chance to venture into a foreign place when Montana Western offers a study abroad program that will visit Perm State.

The trip to Russia is planned for March 16-April 15. The classes offered in this study abroad trip to Russia are Multicultural Education and Experiencing the World. All undergraduate students can take advantage of the international courses.

In the mornings while in Russia, Montana Western students will take classes and then take in the sights in and around Perm in the afternoons and on the weekends. Some of the outings include the Kungur Ice Cave, the Museum of Political Repressions and the town of Suksun. Those who go on the trip can also take in the rich cultural offerings of Perm by attending ballets, theater performances, museums and galleries.

“This is not a trip for three and a half weeks – this is a trip for a lifetime,” says Jones. “The things students will learn and experience – the new foods they will try, the ballets and symphonies they will watch, the visit to the gulag and salt mine and the Russian–will make an impact for a lifetime regardless of student’s future career paths.”

Perm State University was founded in 1916 and is located in the Ural region of Russia. Now as one of the leading universities in Russia, Perm State educates about 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students in 83 different departments including philosophy, nanotechnology and micro-systems engineering and information security.

The Perm State campus is made up of 11 university buildings with 150 classrooms, 45 laboratories and 28 computer labs. Students reside within seven dorms on or within a 15-minute walk from campus.

The study abroad program in Perm offered through Montana Western is the beginning of the expansion of international study opportunities at UMW.

“This exchange agreement means that UMW students will have the opportunity to meet people from a different culture, which is always fun, exciting and its own kind of experiential learning,” says Jones. “More importantly, for our students to be competitive in the global marketplace and leaders at home and abroad, they must know how to negotiate relationships with people from various backgrounds and who bring to the table ideas, solutions and possibilities new to them.”

The first meeting for those interested in taking courses at Perm State is 11:15 a.m., Feb. 4, in The Cup on the campus of Montana Western. Additional interest meetings will be held at 3:15 p.m., Feb. 19, and 11:15 a.m., Feb. 26. A representative from the financial aid office will also be there to talk about costs of the program.

For additional information, contact Danielle Jones at 406-660-2134 or John Xanthopoulos at 406-660-0558. 

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