Russian student learning all about culture in USA

By Tony E. Windsor

Siarhei Dubinski is a long way from home. He is a long way from the streets of Belarus, Russia, but he is enjoying every minute of his adventure. Recently, Siarhei was found sitting in front of a computer at the Seaford District Library, the only link he has to his friends and family back home in Russia. Working at McDonald’s restaurant in Seaford, Siarhei is part of the international cultural exchange program called CIEE. Established in 1947, CIEE is a world leader in language learning and cultural exchange services. In 2000 alone, CIEE helped more than 50,000 high school and university students to experience a wide variety of exchange programs across the globe. CIEE mission is to help people to acquire knowledge and develop global skills necessary for living in a culturally diverse world. Siarhei is taking part in CIEE’s Work & Travel USA program, a way for international students to experience the American way of life, while earning money to cover living expenses. Students have the opportunity to work in the United States during their summer vacations. Work is primarily in the tourism industry (waiter, bartender, cashier, bookkeeper, sales, etc.) Many students also find office and professional employment on their own. Siarhei is on summer vacation from the Russian National Technical University in Minsk, where he is studying for a career as manager of a technical facility. He said he is taking part in the Work & Travel USA to travel and see the United States and to also learn the English language. Since being in the U.S., Siarhei has visited Atlantic City, Ocean City and New York City. He hopes after raising money from his job at McDonald’s he will have the opportunity to visit Chicago and Dallas before returning to Russia in the fall. Back at home in his native Russia, Siarhei’s father owns his own business and his mother is manager of a large grocery store. While living in the United States, Siarhei wears one of his most treasured possessions, a silver ring inscribed with a Christian verse which was given to him before he left Russia by his girlfriend. He maintains contact with her via the Internet during visits to the library and plans to give it to her to wear when he returns to Belarus. After four months in the United States Siarhei has the option of requesting to stay an entire year. So far he has not decided whether he will opt to stay on beyond the initial four months.

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