This August the World Languages and Cultures department welcomed Kyunnyay Alekseevna Innokentyeva into the Mercyhurst community as the 2019-2020 Russian Fulbright.
Alekseevna hails from northeastern Russia, in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), the country’s largest region.
Alekseevna studied at Northeastern Federal University in her home city of Yakutsk, where she received a bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature and a master’s degree in Linguistics and International Communication.
Alekseevna also spent one semester at Myongji University in Seoul, South Korea where she studied International Relationships.
Alekseevna spent seven years working toward her dream of participating in the Fulbright Program and coming to the US.
The Fulbright Program is highly competitive, and in Russia only 30 participants are selected out of more than 500 applicants.
She is thrilled that Fulbright shares her motto of “education for everyone” and it is an incredible opportunity to share her language and culture. “My first impression about Erie was… flags of Ireland everywhere!” Alekseevna said.
She has loved Mercyhurst since she first toured the university with her supervisor, Alice Edwards Ph.D., professor of World Cultures and especially appreciates how she can quickly get between her apartment, office and the dining hall.
Erie, Pennsylvania is a long way from Yakutsk, Russia and much more south. It is already cold in Yakutsk and getting ready to snow. Alekseevna is happy that she does not have to wear so many layers.
The two cities have other differences, such as the location of malls, restaurants, offices, beauty studios and universities which are all downtown in Yakutsk but much more spread out in Erie.
This semester Alekseevna is taking two classes at Mercyhurst. One is a Spanish class with Edwards and the other is Cultural and Linguistic Diversity with Professor Janelle Newman.
In her spare time, Alekseevna loves to watch and record videos. She has already recorded one video about Erie but has plans to make more.
“Travel, improve yourself, meet new people and new cultures.” Alekseevna said, while she reflects on her first trip abroad when she was 20 years old and came to the US with only a rucksack.
That trip inspired her to think bigger than before and seek even more new experiences.
“Never be afraid to leave your comfort zone,” Alekseevna said.
“Life is all about risk and taking responsibility for your own actions and words. If you have a chance to go somewhere abroad, just go.”
Welcome to Mercyhurst!