CIEE’s new Alumni Global Network kicked off its first Network CIEE event in Moscow on November 6 at the Central House of Artists (TsDKh; Tsentralny Dom Khudozhnikov). The lively gathering of Work & Travel (WAT) USA alumni, Study Abroad alumni, and current Study Abroad students was an exciting first step in our goal to connect and engage more than 200,000 CIEE alumni.
The evening included live music, the first presentation of CIEE’s Global Voices speaker series, and a guided tour of the art exhibit “Russian Avant-garde, 1910-1930.” CIEE alumni took advantage of opportunities to mix and mingle, sharing their connections to Russia and comparing international experiences. Twenty five current American students from the CIEE St. Petersburg study center joined the event and enjoyed rich, lively exchanges with many CIEE alumni, including Mordechai Rabinowitz, CFO at Jeppesen and 1976 St. Petersburg alum.
Some WAT alumni have just recently returned from the States. “It was great to reconnect with one another after a great summer,” noted one group of Russian alumni who spent last summer in New Jersey. Natalaya Lageeva, WAT ’09 alum and current research analyst at Standard & Poor’s, reflected on her CIEE experience with a longer perspective. “My experience in the U.S. helped me step through the barrier. It helped me to feel confident speaking English and changed my impression about the U.S.”
The benefits of gathering these interrelated groups was clearly felt by participants. “I hope you continue to build our network in Russia through additional informal gatherings,” said WAT ’05 alum Artem Volkov, an engineer at Airbus. Indeed, there’s plenty more to come, including the next Network CIEE event in April 2014, in Paris.
See all Moscow event photos here.