FULTON, NY – Once again, Oswego County played host to a contingent of international visitors.
On Wednesday, Cayuga Community College’s Fulton Campus welcomed six visitors from Russia who are here as part of a cultural exchange program through the International Center of Syracuse. (http://www.icsyracuse.org/?page_id=1587)
They are all higher ed educators and education administrators, according to Ruth Ragonese, director of the International Center of Syracuse.
They were greeted by Cheryl Anderson, dean of the Fulton Campus.
Prior to touring the brand new facility, they spent more than an hour with Assemblyman Will Barclay (124th District) and Assemblyman Bob Oaks (128th District) discussing the differences and similarities between their countries’ educational systems, focusing on what they had in common and how they could help each other in the future.
The visitors discussed education, the economy and the media among other topics with their American counterparts.
“The world is getting smaller and smaller. It is good that we can have interaction with people from other countries, it’s beneficial to both,” Barclay said.
This group is unique in that it is interested in higher education, he said, adding that this area was a perfect destination for them to visit and go to Syracuse University, LeMoyne College, SUNY Oswego and Cayuga Community College all in the same area.
“It’s great that we can share some of the stuff that we’ve learned through our higher educational institutions and also we can learn a lot from this group from Russia,” he pointed out. “Communication is a good thing. The more we can learn about other people and they can teach us something, too, that’s a good thing.”
Their visit also happened just after the new Fulton Campus opened.
“We love to showcase our great assets here in Oswego County. It’s a great time for them to be here. This is a beautiful facility,” the assemblyman added.
One of the topics was how to motivate students, Oaks said.
“One of them said, ‘Kids are kids. If we are going to be successful in education, we need to respond to the needs of kids.’ So it’s kind of the same thing here as well,” he said. “The difficulty they said they’re having is getting (recent grads) to take the entry level jobs. They want to go to the top right away. That’s a problem here, too. So really there are differences but there are also a lot of similarities.”
New York imports more students from out of state and out of the country more than any other state, Oaks pointed out.
“So, higher education is critical to Central New York; it’s critical to New York State. The more we can bring students in, that’s part of the economy of New York State,” he said.
“I like it (the discussion). It was very informative,” Yelena Nikitina told Oswego County Today. “This is a beautiful new facility. We are very happy we came to visit.”
Dmitriy Moskvin added, “It was a very interesting program. It is very important for us to understand how the system of higher education works in the United States. We have a chance to see different aspects of higher education. We realized that we have a lot in common.”
One of the common problems is how to motivate students to learn better and to learn more, he said (through a translator).
He was interested to learn about the different sources of financing for higher education in America.
“We both could use additional financial sources for improving the quality of education and for offering more career paths and educational opportunities for our students,” he said
When they return home, they will share with their colleagues what they learned here, he said, adding that he hopes to find partners for future educational activities.
The others in the party were Inna Andramonova, Olga Kistlitsina, Anastasiya Lavrikova and Yelena Ivankova.