Fulbright Scholar finds second home at ASU
Almost 5,000 miles away from his native town of St. Petersburg, Russia, Igor Kuzmin has found a second home at Augusta State University. Dr. Kuzmin is visiting Fulbright Scholar and will call Augusta and the university his home until mid-July.
While on campus, he is assisting with the annual Cullum Lecture Series, which focuses on Russia this year. Dr. Kuzmin is also teaching classes on government and politics in Post-Communist Russia.
“I’m here to give students who take the Cullum course a deeper analysis of the lectures,” he says. “I can answer their questions and help them concentrate on what’s most important in guest lectures.”
Dr. Kuzmin began his career in education 25 years ago, teaching Chinese history. He later switched to Russian history and political science and is currently an associate professor at St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University. At that university, Dr. Kuzmin has had the opportunity to work closely with exchange students from America.
His involvement with the Fulbright program began while he was studying at Central European University in Hungary. Through the efforts of Walter Evans, professor of English and chair of this year’s Cullum Committee, and other faculty members, Dr. Kuzmin was offered the position at ASU.
He has spent much of his time getting acquainted with the city, which he says is much different from St. Petersburg.
“St. Petersburg is a big city with 4.5 million people living in it,” he says. “We live in the center of the city, and there’s always the hustle and bustle there. Here, it’s like a high style resort. I’ve really enjoyed the outward aspect of this city.”
But his time here hasn’t been without some difficulties. While it’s not necessary to own a car in St. Petersburg because of public transit, living in Augusta without transportation has proven to be more challenging.
His wife, who is trained as an engineer in Russia, also made the trip to Augusta, and she is finding new ways to occupy her time here.
“She shops and discovers Augusta’s beautiful scenery—the most interesting of pastimes,” Dr. Kuzmin says, laughing. “It’s unusual for her not to be so active.”
But even for all its challenges, life for the Kuzmins in Augusta and at ASU has been a pleasant experience.
“I can only express feelings of gratitude to this university for the treatment we have received since we arrived, ” Dr. Kuzmin says. “This campus is kept with love. People here do their best to have it be the best. I admire the composition of campus too—the way the old is incorporated with the new and the way students have places on campus they can go and study. There is little of that on St. Petersburg’s university campuses.”
For a full schedule of upcoming Cullum Lectures, visit the website at http://www.aug.edu/Cullum_Series/2005/speakers.html.
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