MARQUETTE – Northern Michigan University Professor Nell Kupper is one of 15 people nationwide selected for a Fulbright Scholar Program for teachers of the Russian language. She will spend seven weeks this summer studying at Moscow State University in Russia.
“It’s the top university in the country,” said Kupper, a faculty member with the modern languages and literatures department at NMU. “I will take courses in methodology, as well as Russian literature, art, folklore and music. We’ll spend five hours in class each day, followed by an estimated three or more hours of homework.”
Kupper said the U.S. scholars will be integrated with Russian students who are being trained to teach Russian as a Second Language – similar to ESL teachers in the United States. Likewise, she will not be isolated in her lodging arrangements. Kupper will stay with a Russian family for a fully immersive experience.
“This is a wonderful opportunity – not only to study at the university there, but to live in Russia among the Russians,” she said. “I’m very thrilled and honored to be selected. It’s exciting to learn. I love being a student, absorbed in information that I can later turn around and share with others.”
Kupper teaches French at NMU, but Russian is her second language proficiency and she previously taught it at the high school level. She said she is vigilant about retaining her knowledge of the language. She reads it extensively and is able to converse with a couple of friends from Russia.
While NMU does not currently offer the Russian language, Kupper already incorporates some related elements in the courses she teaches. For example, students read and discuss a novel by a native Russian author who lives in France and writes in the French language.
“I’m confident I will learn a lot through this Fulbright opportunity,” she added. “I know it will benefit NMU students because for every course I take in Moscow, there will be a way to apply it immediately at NMU. Who knows? It might even evolve into a future course that would involve me leading a group of students to Russia.”
Kupper will be in Moscow from June 13 to Aug. 1.