Anastasia Maltseva, Fulbright Scholar: Teaching My Russian Culture
"Teaching my own culture and language is more rewarding than anything I've done before. I feel like the students and I can exchange such a wealth of knowledge, of thoughts, of ideas.
As an ever-enterprising and committed English instructor in Tomsk, Russia, Anastasia Maltseva knew that teaching a foreign language without having visited its native speaking country was a professional and personal holdback. And the Fulbright scholar program was the perfect opportunity to set the record straight.
After going through a rigorous competition, Maltseva was tapped by the University of Tulsa to teach Beginning Russian and lead Russian Club activities in 2011-2012 under the guidance of Professor Elena Doshlygina. As part educator and part cultural ambassador, Maltseva also regularly makes presentations about her native Siberia to introduce local students to the everyday life, economic potential, and the status of research & education in Russia's lesser known Asian regions.
"Teaching my own culture and language is more rewarding than anything I've done before. I feel like the students and I can exchange such a wealth of knowledge, of thoughts, of ideas." Maltseva comments on her experience at TU. "For example, last week we had a most interesting Russian cultural meeting where we compared the 'American dream' with the 'Russian dream' and juxtaposed them with the students' personal aspirations."
She adds about what enamors her most with teaching: "I love the sparks of creative energy that sputter from the students! Once they take off, there is no stopping them."
Back in Russia, Maltseva taught at the prestigious National Research Tomsk Polytechnical University, one of country's top 10 institutions for innovation grants. She worked with both full-time and non-traditional students, ranging from 18 to 60 in age. In 2005-2009, Maltseva taught English to middle school students at her own alma mater and managed enrollments at an international language camp.
Anastasia is originally from Barnaul, where she completed a B.A. in Philology and Translating, followed by a Master's degree in English (as a Foreign Language). She was inspired to audition for a Fulbright position after talking to visiting Americans and Russian colleagues who had gone on successful year-long teaching trips to the United States.
Upon receiving her official Fulbright invitation letter, Anastasia humored her coworkers with a skit where she donned a cowboy hat, spurred boots, and worn jeans while clutching a dummy pistol – to set off for the American West "in style."
Why are TU Languages graduates so successful in obtaining coveted positions in business, teaching, and the most prestigious graduate schools?
The answer is simple: It's what TU graduates can do that sets them apart. Their high achievement typically begins with small, student-centered language classes, continues with a study abroad experience, and concludes with challenging advanced-level courses.
Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Greek (Ancient), Hebrew, Latin, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish
In the TU Classroom:
- Emphasis on communication
- Beginning and intermediate language classes limited to 22 students
- Advanced classes limited to 15 students
- A state-of-the-art multimedia language lab that provides interactive learning environments
- Designated language classrooms furnished with comfortable armchairs and small tables to create a welcoming atmosphere conducive to language acquisition.
Around the campus:
- Russian Club, French Forum, French Cinema Club, Tertulia Spanish Conversation Club, and Chinese Culture Club.
- Phi Sigma Iota (International Foreign Language Honor Society),
- Sigma Delta Pi (Spanish Honor Society).