Xavia Alloway will spend two years studying for her master’s degree with all expenses covered at a school of her choice in Russia after earning an award from the Carmel Institute of Russian Culture and History.
Alloway, a senior political science major from Troy, found out about the grant through Michael Slobodchikoff, an assistant professor in the political science department.
“I made a countdown on my phone because they told me what day I’d know by,” Alloway said. “So the countdown was over, and I’m just waiting and waiting.
“It’s two days after, and I’m like, ‘Well, maybe I didn’t get it and they don’t send out emails to those who didn’t,’ but then I got it, and I was so shocked!”
Alloway hopes to achieve a lot through her degree.
“The relationship between Russia and the U.S. and how we don’t really get along—I want that to change,” she said. “And how uneducated we are on Russian culture.”
Alloway, whose graduate degree will be in Russian studies, said that she believes many Americans see Russia as an enemy and therefore do not give it a fair chance in learning about it or its people.
“Most are normal citizens, and they’re very American-friendly,” she said. “But most people don’t know that because they don’t know people from Russia or haven’t traveled there.”
Alloway became interested in the country after taking Slobodchikoff’s Russian politics class and then joining the Russia Club on campus.
Alloway hopes to start in January to allow for a break to recuperate after taking classes last summer, but is excited to get the most out of the trip once she is there.
“Anything I’m able to do over there, I will do,” she said. “I do think it’s important to take at least one or two trips into the country because there’s such a big difference in the country and city.”
She said she doesn’t plan to come back to America during her degree to get the most out of the chance to go abroad.
“And I’m interested in living there longer,” she said. “I know they have a shortage of a workforce, so looking for a job while I’m there is kind of a big thing.”
She hopes to pursue a career as a foreign service officer in order to be an ambassador between the U.S. and Russia.
Alloway said that she has very few worries about her move to Russia.
“I move a lot, so it’s just another change,” she said. “I make friends easy.
“I am kind of worried about school standards, like if it’s a little tougher.”
With tuition and room expenses covered wherever she goes in Russia, the next step in Alloway’s journey is reaching out to the schools she is interested in.
“I don’t really have a preference,” she said. “I kind of hope it’s in Moscow just because it’s a bigger city.
“I’m just happy that I can study my area of study without having to work or do anything outside of school.”