Photo credit: U.S. Army by Gary L. Kieffer
By: Cadet Kevin Bubolz
This past summer I had the opportunity to travel to Russia on a United States Military Academy (USMA) Academic Individual Advanced Development (AIAD) for three weeks. There were 4 ROTC cadets, 4 USMA cadets, and 1 cadre from West Point, Major Boardman. The purpose of this trip was not only to help others, but also to become culturally aware and open to other cultures. During the week I volunteered at an orphanage for babies in Yaroslavl, Russia. At this placement I assisted in taking care of 15 babies all under the age of one and a half years old. My main tasks were to take the babies for walks, play with them, fed them, and occasionally to do maintenance at the orphanage. Also, each week I had two Russian language and history lessons, which helped me communicate using basic Russian phrases and become more knowledgeable about Russia’s past. Additionally, each week we took one culture excursion trip to historic places in the surrounding area of Yaroslavl.
I also had the opportunity to travel by train to Moscow for two weekends and St. Petersburg for one weekend. While in Moscow we visited Red Square, Lenin’s mausoleum, the Kremlin, Izmailovsky Souvenir Market, the U.S. Embassy, St. Basil’s Cathedral and various other historic sites.While in St. Petersburg I had the opportunity to visit Empress Elizabeth’s Winter Palace and hermitage, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, Kazan Cathedral, and Nevsky prospect. These culture excursions were something that I will never forget and they enabled me to really experience and appreciate the Russian culture. Overall, I have gained so much from this trip and I believe that these types of experiences are what will make future Army Officers tremendous leaders and examples to others.