Students from the former Soviet Union study at TROY

Posted: Tuesday, 07 September 2010

TROY, Ala.—Troy University welcomed five new exchange students from the former Soviet Union this fall.

As part of the U.S. Department of State’s Global Undergraduate Exchange Program in Eurasia & Central Asia, administered by the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX), the students will spend a year at TROY integrating into American culture while making progress on degrees from their home country.

“They are students who are highly successful,” said Dean of International Student Services Darlene Schmurr-Stewart. “It’s an academic exchange, but it’s also a cultural exchange.”

The five students selected for this year’s program at TROY are Muratbek Ishenbaev, of Kyrgyzstan; Meerim Mamyrbekova, of Kyrgyzstan; Ruzanna Pilosyan, of Armenia; Olga Spytsia, of Ukraine; and Iryna Tsumarava, of Belarus.

Schmurr-Stewart said many of the students involved in the program are working on American studies degrees, and the University assists them in fulfilling this goal.

The Global UGRAD Program is highly competitive, averaging more than 3,000 applications per year with an acceptance rate of 5 percent. Aside from academic studies, Global UGRAD students perform community service and hold one-semester internships, in an effort to advance youth leadership and promote cultural understanding.

Troy University has been participating in the Global UGRAD program since 2002, Schmurr-Stewart said. The University applies to be one of the program’s partnership schools through the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational Affairs, and once students are admitted as fellows, they are submitted to TROY for final acceptance.

Rachel Skipworth

Global Undergraduate Exchange Program Fellows at Troy University this fall are, from left, Olga Spytsia from Ukraine, Ruzanna Pilosyan from Armenia, Iryna Tsumarava from Belarus, Meerim Mamyrbekova and Muratbek Ishenbaev, both from Kyrgyztan. (TROY photo/Cass Davis)