By Aleksandra (Sasha) Kuznetsova, Kazan, Russia
The only thing I do not enjoy about Recrear projects is that they always end. No matter how much effort you put into developing the project, or how many people will benefit from it, or even how much money you fundraise, every project will eventually finish. And no matter how much you manage to accomplish, the participants will still be left with plenty of great ideas they just did not get a chance to explore fully during the project. This was how we felt at the end of RecrearApply in Kazan last December. The only difference was that Recrear didn’t really leave Kazan. Two Recrear staff member are still living and working in this city. Many of the workshop participants are still interested in developing new projects.
Thanks to this, we just delivered a new project, greatly inspired by RecrearApply. The idea was to spend three days assisting undergraduate students in finding education opportunities abroad. Just like RecrearApply, the project was adjusted to the needs of Russian students. Despite their limited prior experience in project development, former RecrearApply participants worked out the idea and received the funding from the Fulbright Foundation. The team shared their own experience of applying to graduate schools abroad, as well as general information on how to write resumes and how to study for standard examinations. The team invited trainers experienced in both international and local study abroad programs and US teachers, currently residing in Kazan, to share their thoughts about how to apply to US universities. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Tatarstan and Kazan National Technological University became strategic partners.
Why did the team choose to train students to apply to foreign universities and programs? We believe in the role education plays in empowering young people; moreover, we ourselves have experienced the effectiveness of the RecrearApply project. Studying abroad has become one of the most desired, yet, hardly achievable goals for many Russian students. During the last few decades Russian education has suffered from too many experiments pushing young people to look for education abroad, primarily in Western Europe and North America. Many brilliant students, however, can’t afford hiring a consultant to help them apply, whereas the resources on the web can sometimes be overwhelming.
Our goal was to share information and assist students in searching for programs abroad, which we did successfully. Throughout the project we stressed that the best resources are the participants themselves, and set up a Facebook page to continue sharing information after the project. As I was saying: Recrear didn’t leave Kazan after finishing the project last December. The team is full of new ideas, and we will keep working hard to put them into practice.
The project in Kazan was run by: Alexandra Kuznetsova (Recrear staff member), Ekaterina Golitsyna (Recrear staff member), Irina Rakhimova (RecrearApply Kazan participant), Ksenia Arkhipova (RecrearApply Kazan participant) and Marina Chernova (RecrearApply Kazan participant).