"I'm very interested in helping make international studies an essential part of every Cornell student's experience by integrating cultural competency and international awareness into both the curriculum and everyday student life on campus."
-- Amanda Ross '06 (on right)
Amanda Ross '06
After graduating with a degree in Russian, Amanda Ross '06 spent a year in Vladimir, Russia teaching English at the American Home, a small language school. She then returned to Cornell to staff the college's newly established International and Off-Campus Studies Office.
attracted you to your job at Cornell?
I came back from teaching EFL in Russia and wanted to stay involved with international education. I especially looked forward to developing new off-campus courses (the number offered has increased substantially since my time as a student) and expanding opportunities in less traditional destinations.
What are some of your primary duties?
My main role is serving as a resource for students interested in studying off-campus and for faculty interested in pursuing international opportunities. I handle many of the logistics for off-campus programs, serve on the Multicultural Council Executive Board, advise on scholarship and fellowship opportunities, and help develop office policies.
do you like most about your job?
I love being able to interact with students and help them find programs that suit their individual interests. And again, helping develop the new course offerings (in Morocco, South Africa, etc.) has enabled Cornell to get more departments and students involved in international experiences.
was best about studying Russian at Cornell?
Both professors I had in the department were stellar, but Professor Ikach was one of the most engaging professors I've ever had, and she inspired me to take on my language major. The Russian courses at Cornell are very interactive, and as a very introverted student, I needed to break out of my shell to continue to learn. This shift to active learning on my part has impacted me deeply and spurred my passion for both international education and experiential learning.
OCAAT work well for you?
As is the case with many students, OCAAT was the reason I chose Cornell. I imagined an incredibly focused, intense academic atmosphere- and that's what I experienced. I really believe that the total immersion atmosphere is helpful for language study (though anyone with an interest in language proficiency should absolutely supplement their on-campus courses with an abroad component). OCAAT is the reason we can have 20+ off-campus courses each year, enabling students without the time or funds to take a full semester or year away from the Hilltop to still get a slice of life and culture in another place.
off-campus courses did you complete?
My first trip abroad was John Gruber-Miller's 2005 Roman Archaeology course in Italy. We spent three weeks traveling virtually non-stop around Rome and Naples -- by the end of the course, I simultaneously wanted to sleep for a week and to keep going. The next semester I studied abroad on ACM's program in Krasnodar, Russia, which was an incredible experience for my personal and academic development. My final course at Cornell was Katy Stavreva's English research course at the Newberry Library in Chicago, which was an excellent way to finish off my undergraduate career. After I graduated, I spent the summer of 2006 working at a Russian language summer camp through Concordia College.
I am now enrolled in a master's program online through the University of Illinois and will be getting my master's of education in global studies in 2010. Besides Russia and Italy, I have now traveled to England, France, Egypt and Ireland - and have spent a summer teaching in South Korea. I'm very interested in helping make international studies an essential part of every Cornell student's experience by integrating cultural competency and international awareness into both the curriculum and everyday student life on campus.