Abbie Howard traveled to Russia with a group of fellow Troy University students

Published 3:46 am Wednesday, August 13, 2008

By Staff
Story by Lydia Grimes
A once-in-a-lifetime trip to Russia opened Abbie Howard's eyes to a new culture.
The East Brewton native and Troy University student was part of the first group of Troy students and advisers to travel to Kirov, Russia, to help promote the university's new agreement with a university there.
The Troy students, along with two instructors and the dean of the College of Business, flew to Moscow and then boarded the Trans-Siberian Railway to travel into the interior of Russia. Their mission was to jump start the exchange between Troy and Vyatka State University of Humanities in Kirov. They wanted to get experience in the cultural differences and to look at the economic development, infrastructure and environmental ties.
In October 2007, Troy and Vyatka signed an agreement that will allow students from the Russian school to begin a bachelor of business administration degree or bachelor of science in environmental science degree by studying for three years in Russia and spending the final year on campus at Troy.
This is the first time such an agreement has taken place with Russia, although the university does have a program in operation with China.
Howard had applied for study abroad and she was selected as one of six students to go to Kirov. Five students were selected who were studying environmental science, and Howard was the only one selected who was in business accounting.
The trip was eye-opening for Howard.
But Howard quickly learned that some of the routines she took for granted in the United States were not as easily done in Kirov, which is more rural than Moscow.
The way of life in Kirov comes from Cold War history.
One thing she noticed was the effect of pollution on the trees.
Even housing is a remnant of the Cold War.
Amid the industrial-looking housing, though, Howard found great beauty.
While Russia has changed much since the days of Communist rule, Howard still found a much more controlled environment than in America - and a much different economy.