Many students dream of studying a semester abroad. Whether it be in Europe, Australia or Asia, Seton Hall students have crossed multiple oceans to experience different cultures. Alexandro Granata, a junior diplomacy major, has spent the past two semesters studying abroad in Moscow, Russia.
Granata has been studying at Moscow State Institute of International Relations, primarily focusing on advancing his studies on foreign policy.
The school has been dubbed as the most prestigious institute in Russia, as well as one of the most prestigious universities in the world, for foreign relations.
Alongside studying at the university, Granata has an internship with Center for Support and Development of Public Initiatives Creating Diplomacy (PICREADI).
Granata has worked with this organization throughout the duration of his stay in Russia.
He worked with the organization during “Meeting Russia,” a program that focused on Russian foreign policy and the country’s relationship with the West.
“The main reason that I decided to study abroad was to try to improve my level in Russian as much as possible and get to know the Russian culture,” Granata said.
Granata believes that if he had not chosen to study abroad for two semesters, he would have never been able to achieve an advanced level in the Russian language.
He had previously studied two years of the Russian language before embarking to the country.
Granata’s internship focuses on promoting Russia’s soft power abroad. “Soft power is the ability to affect others by attraction and persuasion rather than through the hard power of coercion and payment,” Granata said.
Granata said that his work with PICREADI primarily consists of assisting with the advertisement and organization of their events.
Granata’s internship has helped prepare him for his future. “I would eventually like to work in foreign service,” he said. “This study abroad experience has given me the opportunity to understand the reasoning behind Russia’s controversial conflicts within the world.”
Artëm Kalyanov, a Russian language professor at SHU, has taught Granata before he went abroad.
“In a matter of two years, he, as a student majoring in diplomacy and mastering the Russian language, went far beyond my expectations,” Kalyanov said.
Jagoda Osenkowska, a sophomore political science major, was a student of Granata’s when he was Kalyanov’s teacher’s assistant.
“Alexandro was very enthusiastic about the Russian language and made the students very interested,” Osenkowska said.
As Granata’s study abroad comes to a close, Kalyanov offered some advice. “Granata is [a] very sociable individual, easy to communicate with, and listens to other people’s view points which puts him in a unique group,” Kalyanov said. “My advice to Alexandro is simple: Keep up the good work!”
Granata’s favorite memory thus far while studying abroad is his class on strategic intelligence.
“Class with Andrei Bezrukov, a former spy within the United States was one of the highlights,” he said. “He was apprehended in 2010 by the FBI. The class was very informative.”
Granata credited the Moscow State Institute of International Relations as the most multicultural environment he’s ever been in.
Said Granata, “Living here and interacting with people from different countries on a daily basis has increased my cultural awareness and cross-cultural communication skills.”
Zoey Dotson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.