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14 TAMIU Students go to Russia for Spring Break Study-Travel Posted: 3/01/18

14 TAMIU Students go to Russia for Spring Break Study-Travel


Reading the Globe Logo

A select group of 14 Texas A&M International University students won’t be soaking up the rays at a Spring Break beach.  Instead, they’ll travel over 6,100 miles to Moscow, and St. Petersburg, Russia as part of the University’s “Reading the Globe Program.”

The students participated in the University’s Common Read and through a competitive application, essay and interview, have been selected to participate in the “Reading the Globe” study-travel opportunity.  The selection of travel to Russia was framed by the setting of the Common Read book for 2018, the acclaimed “A Backpack, A Bear and Eight Crates of Vodka,” by Lev Golinkin. Golinkin visited with TAMIU students and offered personal insight into his text and personal journey last October.

Students participating in the program include Isabela Barrientos, Marcos Enriquez, Briana Escobar, Kimberly Flores, Mayra Hurtado, Sergio Martínez, José A. Medrano, Aranza Obscura, Alyla Robles, María Graciela Rodríguez, Aaron E. Salazar, Rebecca Vela, Alfredo Velasco and Alan Villarreal.

Their time in Russia is highly structured with academic classes, guest lectures, related guided tours and a service-learning opportunity, said Dr. Conchita Hickey, TAMIU professor emeritus of the University College, which directs the popular initiative.

“Among trip highlights are visits to the Lenin Mausoleum, the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, a guided tour of Cold War bunkers, an evening in Gorky Park, tour of St. Petersburg, the burial place of Russian Tsars, a roundtable discussion on the Bolshevik Revolution with students at St. Petersburg State University, a trip to the Winter Palace at the Hermitage, and Catherine’s Palace,” said Dr. Hickey, professor emeritus.

Hickey provided some program history.

“Launched in 2008, the Reading the Globe program requires all First Year students to read a book focused on an international topic. This book is read and discussed as part of the UNIV 1101 freshman seminar curriculum, Learning in a Global Environment I. The Common Read Program provides the opportunity for discourse about issues relevant to students, and raises social awareness on a local and global scale.  We also share the experience with the City of Laredo as the selected book is part of its ‘One City, One Book’ program,” Hickey explained. 

To date TAMIU Reading the Globe student groups have traveled to Bosnia, Cambodia, China, Chile, Croatia, Ghana, Hungary, India, Poland, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, and Turkey. 

TAMIU students will be sharing their experiences with classmates through dedicated social media posts on Instagram @tamiureadingtheglobe and online at

For additional information, contact Dr. Conchita Hickey at University College at 956.326.2134, email or visit offices in the Senator Judith Zaffirini Student Success Center, room 223. Information is also available online at

TAMIU Students Bound for Russia


14 TAMIU students have been selected for a rare Study-Travel opportunity this Spring Break in Russia. Left to right, front row are Aranza Obscura, Isabela Barrientos, Alyla Robles, Briana Escobar, Mayra Hurtado and Kimberly Flores. Second row, left to right,  Sergio Martínez, Alan Villarreal, Marcos, Enriquez,  Aaron E. Salazar, José A. Medrano and Alfredo Velasco. Not pictured are Rebecca Vela and María Graciela Rodríguez.