Although I had hoped to be sent to Siberia, my teaching assignment for American law is to be at Belgorod State University. I must confess I had to go to Wikipedia and map sites in order to orient myself.
Belgorod is a city in Southwestern Russia, just North of the Ukraine border. There are about 335,000 people in Belgorod and the name in Russian means “a white city.”
Regrettably, the history of Belgorod seems to be one of war and strife. Ravaged in 1237 by the “Hoards of Batu Khan,” it was refounded in 1596 as a fort to defend the Southern borders from the Tatars. Unfortunately the town was occupied by Nazi Germany in 1941, and was the site of the largest tank battle in world history during July of 1943, prior to its liberation that August.
My university has about 30,000 students and numerous undergraduate and graduate programs. My students will be 19 or 20 years old. I will speak in English; I will have an interpreter.
I am now trying to learn more about Belgorod and the University. Seemingly at least one other Western attorney has taught there, and I am reaching out to him (he practices in Virginia).
Going on the internet to find information about Belgorod is indeed challenging. Mostly you get “pop ups” suggesting that you might want to meet beautiful Russian girls who are in search of a husband. While the prospect is tempting, I am not sure that my wife Laura would fully understand.
Travel sites are short on useful information about Belgorod. Amazon is equally unrewarding; while I willorder an MP3 download of Tam Letal Pavlin’s songs from Belgorod (“A Peacock Once Went Flying”), I was somewhat put off by the Belgorod-embossed stainless steel mug, and surprised by the total absence of guidebooks or other useful literature.
Anyone who is up on Belgorod, please post some comments and give me some help here.