Skip to Main Content

To Russia with UD

To Russia with UD: Faculty to Lead UD’s First Tour of Russia


Dr. ODate published: Oct. 4, 2019

This summer, the University of Dallas invites students, alumni, faculty and staff to join its first-ever tour abroad of Russia, led by Professor of Physics Richard Olenick and Affiliate Instructor of Spanish, French and Italian Irina Rodriguez. From June 8 to June 16, 2020, Olenick and Rodriguez will guide participants through the cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg, taking them on a cultural and literary tour of the “Russian soul.” 

Both faculty leaders have a strong background and personal connection with Russia: Olenick taught at Moscow State University as a Fulbright Scholar after the fall of the USSR, and Rodriguez grew up under Soviet power in Ukraine. She recently published a book on her experience, My Soviet Youth: A Memoir of Ukrainian Life in the Final Years of Communism (McFarland Publishing, 2019). 

The trip will begin with a tour of Moscow, where the group will visit Red Square, the Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral and several other churches. They will also go to Tretyakov Gallery, home of the oldest Russian icon: The Trinity by Andrei Rublev. “We’ll be learning about icons, trying to get that Russian soul,” said Olenick. 

The tour will visit many cultural and literary sites as well, including Gogol Museum, Novodevichy Cemetery and Dostoevsky’s apartment. A group might go to the Hotel Metropole for lunch, a location which readers of A Gentleman in Moscow will certainly recognize. 

“We want to make it a very educational experience, not just going places,” said Rodriguez. “We really want to make [the trip] with a great cultural and literary angle, especially since so many people here at UD are familiar with Dostoevsky and Tolstoy.” 

Part of this rich educational experience will include learning not just about Russian culture in the past but also about life in Russia today. To do so, Olenick and Rodriguez are organizing an informal meeting between UD participants and students at Moscow State University, where they can discuss literature, politics and their lives in Russia and the United States. 

After the tour of Moscow, the group will take an overnight high-speed train to St. Petersburg, a city called “the window to Europe.” Olenick noted that the train ride, although overnight, will take place during the “white nights” of Russian summertime, allowing passengers to see most of the countryside. Once in St. Petersburg, the group will visit Peterhof, the Fortress of Peter and Paul, the Palace of Catherine the Great, Hermitage Museum and the Alexander Nevsky Monastery. 

In addition to seeing the sights of Russia in person, students who are interested in earning credit for the experience will have the opportunity to take a one-credit online class, Literary Russia, from June 5-7. This class will cover short works of Russian literature, focusing especially on works not covered elsewhere in UD’s curriculum. 

Winston Churchill once remarked that “Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” Olenick shared this sentiment, adding, “You need to go there to really understand it.” 

“You can’t understand [Russia] in your mind but have to feel it in your heart,” added Rodriguez. “Going there does that.” 

“To Russia With UD” will take place June 8-16, 2020. To learn more, please contact irodriguez@udallas.edu or olenick@udallas.edu. There will also be an information session on Saturday, Oct. 5. 

 

News

Professors Awarded NEH Grant to Support Writing Programs

Chair and Assistant Professor of English Debra Romanick Baldwin, Ph.D., and Professor of Physics and recent Interim Dean of Constantin College Sally Hicks, Ph.D., have secured a $299,078 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support writing instruction at UD for the fall 2020 semester.

+ Read More

You Can Do What with a (Spanish) Degree?

His first step was to enroll in physician’s assistant school at Baylor’s College of Medicine, a career trajectory to which he had aspired since his early childhood. Nowadays, Jonathan Cunningham, BA ’17, is dedicated to the vocational pursuit of comfort and healing at MD Anderson in Houston, among the largest cancer treatment centers in the U.S., where he was once a chemotherapy patient himself.

+ Read More

History Alumnus Heads National Catholic Bioethics Center

During his Rome semester in 1991, Joseph Meaney, BA '93, with his friends (now Father) Kevin Cook, BA '94, and (now Texas State Representative and UD Trustee) Tan Parker, BA '93, attended a private Mass with Pope St. John Paul II. Several weeks earlier, they had hand-delivered a letter to the Swiss Guards outside St. Peter's requesting the Mass and including their contact information; at last, they'd received the phone call instructing them to be at the Bronze Gates at 5 a.m.

+ Read More