Elena Lyapina, Kostroma City coordinator. Hello! My name is Elena. I'm a teacher by profession and for a long time worked in Moscow (with a stop in California along the way), eventually settling in beautiful Nerekhta where my husband and I manage the International Youth Center. Our summer camps unite internationally minded children and adults who bring a positive attitude and want to do something good for others. It's a truly wonderful atmosphere that I hope you can be a part of it. See you in Nerekhta!
Martina Bozadzhieva, Co-coordinator. Living, working, and studying in a different country can a life-changing experience, as it was for me when I went to study in the U.S. In co-founding Crossroads, I wanted to give students an opportunity to benefit from such an experience and to create the life-long friendships that enrich how we understand and relate to a country like Russia. I support Crossroads in its marketing and alumni engagement through our blog and newsletter. I currently live in London.
Milana Furman, Voronezh City Coordinator. My full-time work focuses on managing a Voronezh-based non-profit that promotes international volunteering among young Russians and organizes programs that bring them together with international students living in Voronezh. I've been doing this for years. I was delighted when Martina and Vlad approached me to host Crossroads Eurasia interns in Voronezh, as not many native English-speakers make it here.
Tatiana Zakharova, Ryazan City Coordinator. During the school year, I am a Social Studies and English language teacher at a local private school a major goal of which is to promote creativity and critical thinking among its pupils. I love international exchange and volunteering programs, and besides Crossroads, I help to set up local events, such as music festivals, that encourage young people to travel and visit Ryazan.
Vlad Gorshkov, Project Coordinator. Crossroads Eurasia is an experience that I wish I could have had when I was working on my undergraduate degree -- a "live-and-observe" experience, not a classroom experience. I'm an eager traveler and have visited over 40 countries. It has been a pleasure seeing people go outside of their comfort zones and to build on that experience in their careers. At Crossroads, I am the liaison between the students and the local coordinators, making sure that expectations are aligned and the students are ready to travel. At present, I am based in London.
Students often don’t realize that summer language courses are only one way to immerse themselves in the Russian language and culture.
Founded in 2010, Crossroads Eurasia is a project to get more students to discover Russia directly, via a work experience. Our summer internships take students away from Moscow and St. Petersburg and maximize daily exposure to Russian speakers at work, at home, and during free time. The result is language practice and a truly personal perspective on Russia and its people. Crossroads interns also come away with friendships and relationships with colleagues, peers, and host families that last well beyond the end of the program.
For students aspiring to integrate the Russian language or regional expertise into their careers, the program is a natural stepping stone into internships, jobs, fellowships, and graduate study.
Crossroads Eurasia has about 100 alumni, many of whom have gone on to do Russia-related work in the policy, business, and NGO communities, and we are proud to say that one in ten is a Fulbright scholar.