Babcock spends July in Russia strengthening relations, exploring program options

Hastings College history professor Dr. Rob Babcock spent the month of July at Hastings College’s sister school, Pyatigorsk State University, in Pyatigorsk, Russia.

babcock 18 russiaWhile at Pyatigorsk, Babcock met with Pyatigorsk professors Victor Mishin and Tatiana Kara-Kazaryn to explore the possibility of creating a summer program that would allow Hastings College students to study Russian while living with other international students doing the same. He received an invitation from professor Olga Kovaleva for Hastings College students to visit and study at Pyatigorsk’s School of Design and Architecture in the summer.

Babcock also worked with Mishin, Kara-Kazaryn and Hastings College political science professor Dr. Sabina Hilaiel to create a program that will launch in September where Hastings College and Pyatigorsk students would have regular video conference sessions in order to gain a deeper understanding of the culture, history and modern life in the two different countries.

“I had the opportunity to get acquainted with Pyatigorsk State University, spend time with their students and experience what time in the classroom looks like at Pyatigorsk,” Babcock said. Babcock said he also continued his own Russian studies and conducted some research.

In addition, Babcock discussed with directors of Pyatigorsk’s Pushkin Institute the possibility of the two universities sharing a graduate student who would come to Hastings College to offer Russian language and culture courses.

Hastings College and Pyatigorsk have been partner schools since 1997. In 2017, Hastings College opened the Pushkin Institute for Russian Language and Culture in McCormick Hall.

Part of a global brand of international academic learning centers sponsored by the Russian Ministry of Education, the Pushkin Center hosts invited speakers, film showings and conversations between students at Hastings College and Pyatigorsk State University.

Hastings College is a private, four-year institution located in Hastings, Nebraska, that focuses on student academic and extracurricular achievement. With 64 majors and 15 pre-professional programs, Hastings College has been named among “Great Schools, Great Prices” by U.S. News & World Report and a “Best in the Midwest” by The Princeton Review. For more, go to

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