Dickinson’s Abroad Program in Russia in Jeopardy of Being Removed

Dickinson students studying in Moscow (via: Dickinson College)

Dickinson students studying in Moscow (via: Dickinson College)

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Dickinson has been forced to cancel its summer study abroad program in Moscow. The loss of this opportunity will likely cause a drop in the number of Russian majors and students at Dickinson, as those interested in this program will be forced to look elsewhere for their abroad experience.

“I was sad because I was looking forward to going back to Moscow [this summer],” says Garen Cross, ’24, a Russian and International Studies major with a minor in French. Cross expressed how “an experience in the city would have been so beneficial to my college experience.” 

With the Dickinson in Russia abroad program off the table for now, Cross has adjusted his plans and will now be traveling to Kyrgyzstan this summer for ten weeks through a program called Project Global Officer. While in Kyrgyzstan, he will be learning Russian and furthering his education about Central Asian culture and customs. 

Dickinson’s department of Global Study and Engagement has had previous discussions regarding what will be done with the Dickinson in Russia program. Katie DeGuzman, Dean and Director of Education Abroad, stated how “Our decisions are not made lightly. We want to be open to anything and are trying to work together [with the Russian department].” Both departments have been working to identify other possible solutions that would allow students to travel abroad to Russia this summer.

According to DeGuzman, “The main thing we are focusing on is can these students still study Russian.” DeGuzman stressed that they are fighting for students to have the experience of studying abroad and will support them in any way possible. “The Russian department is still trying to find ways and other places, even virtually, to study Russian this summer, but nothing is final.”

DeGuzman expressed her and the department’s sadness that students will not be able to visit off-campus faculty director Irene Filippova, who is currently located in Moscow. “She [Filippova] is a great, special, talented person. As a team, they [the department] feel like she wants nothing more than students to travel to her and learn with her.”

Regarding Dickinson’s fall program, the Global Study office sent out an email to students who applied to go abroad to Russia this year that with the given circumstances, they are able to change to another study abroad program or can remain in the Russian application pool. DeGuzman said the college will make exceptions with class registration as well. 

“We are not yet ready to make a decision,” she says, regarding the possibility of canceling or continuing the Dickinson in Russia program in the fall. “These are challenging times, you don’t know what is going to happen, but student safety is the number one priority…We are currently in a holding pattern and have had to focus on several factors.”