Friendships Blossom Between Countries


This is a shot of American Guilderland student Haewon Hwang and Russian high school student saying farewell after a day of discovering their similarities.

Access to the internet is seriously limited at the “Lev Tolstoy Tula Pedagogical” University dormitory but the hospitality is boundless.

Our adventures, that include Mary, Dawn, Haewon, Rose and myself, arrived in Tula on Monday after a 3-hour taxi trip from Moscow. Almost any car can be a “taxi” if you carry enough coin.

Sidebar: A quick lesson in how to save money: Never exchange dollars in the airport, the exchange will rob you and never fall for ‘gypsy cars’ or unofficial cabs.

Pedagogical literally means ‘teaching’ where seven hundred Russian and even some international students attend four years of higher education. Our winning students spent the first day reading parts of their winning essays and answering questions from a crowded classroom of English-speaking students. Most of them are, at first, shy and even intimated by us, but, after spending a few hours at a local coffee shop sharing cultural stories, they quickly opened up. The friendship kindled and soon Facebook and emails were exchanged. Many more experiences to come.