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Russians Coming to Clear Spring

June 23, 1999|By BRUCE HAMILTON

Clear Spring High School students traveled to Russia last July under a cultural exchange program designed to let them experience a different way of life and other methods of agriculture.

This July, 13 Russian educators and students will stay with Clear Spring families from July 9-23.

"This sort of completes our exchange," said Sue Lowery, a Clear Spring High School agriculture teacher.

Jennifer Kriner plans to host two Russians: a 20-year-old woman and a 13-year-old boy.

"We're really excited about it, especially since our son was over there," she said. "It was a great experience for him."

Jamie Kriner, 18, flew to Moscow with a group of Future Farmers of America members.

While in Rissia, they took an 18-hour train ride to the Volga River, southeast of the capital.

The group toured the Samara region and stayed at a sports camp. They took a trip down the river, visited a glass factory and a car manufacturer and farms in the area. They ended the trip with three days in Moscow.

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The Kriners will take their visitors fishing on the Potomac River, serve them hamburgers off the grill and show them how family members work on their beef farm, Jennifer Kriner said.

The visiting Russians will include three teenagers, two young adults and 8 adults from the Pedagogical University in the Bryansk region, according to Sharon Boyer, president of the nonprofit Youth Educulture Services Inc. in Middletown, Md.

Formed in 1997, the organization's mission is to send adults and youths abroad to compare cultural similarities and differences, she said.

Boyer said the organization tries to place visitors in homes rather than hostels or hotels so they can have more personal interaction with residents.

Clear Spring students benefited from seeing agricultural conditions in Russia, where sickles are more common than lawn mowers, she said.

"It's a real eye-opener for some to see the advantages we take for granted," she said.

Although the Russians speak some English, they are not fluent. But the language barrier is not a problem, according to Boyer. "If you want to communicate and get to know someone, you will," she said.

Some of the visitors will stay with agriculture teachers Lowery and Terrie Shank.

Lowery said the itinerary includes a tour of Frostburg State University in Allegany County, Md., along with a tractor pull. The group will picnic, swim and attend church on July 11. The following week they will visit Washington, D.C.

They also will visit Annapolis and will go to Baltimore, where they will get a behind-the-scenes tour of the National Aquarium, Lowery said.

They will tour Crystal Grottoes in Boonsboro and visit the Washington County Agricultural Center nearby. "We've got a big agenda," said Lowery.

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