• Alabama Capital
  • USA Street View Sign
  • Mobile Skyline
  • USA Rec Center Pool
  • USA Dining Hall

                                         Connections  USA

              On-campus Summer Program at the University of South Alabama 

Date:  July 1-22,2018

Location: University of South Alabama

Director: Dr. Nicholas Gossett

Contact: ngossett@southalabama.edu

Highlights: 3 USA credit hours for Alabama students, learning in a cross-cultural environment, a rich cultural program, and on-campus college experience.  

The Connections USA program is meant to bring together high school students (ages 15-18) from Alabama and Russian in a cross-cultural educational environment. Students from Alabama will spend part of the time learning Russian language and culture while their Russian peers will learn American studies. During this program, students will be divided into groups and complete a project to present during the final day of the program. The final project will follow current methods in Project Based Learning (PBL). Students will identify a problem and work together to present a possible solution involving the university and the community. The main purpose of this program is to create connections between the youth in Alabama and Russia, the university, and the city of Mobile. 

Framework for the Program 

Five Pillars of Culture

Often people focus on the differences between two cultures, the Connections USA program, however, will focus on the similarities between people around the world, using the Five Pillars of Culture as the major framework for the thematic units in this program. Each part of the program will include a thematic unit highlighted by a specific excursion or event to focus on a specific pillar. The pillars we are focusing on for this program are:

Symbols - Family focuses

Values - Education

Language - Language (cross-cultural communication)

Beliefs - Pluralism

Customs - Food/Traditions/Holidays

From - Sociology: Understanding and Changing the Social World (University of Minnesota)

Students from Alabama high schools will be registered for LG 171 (Introductory Russian I - 3 credit hours) and attend Russian language and culture classes from 9:30AM-12:30PM daily Monday - Friday. The course will be taught by Dr. Nick Gossett (Assistant Professor, Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literature). Tutors for the Alabama students to practice their Russian will be made available in the residence halls from 1:30PM-3:30PM Monday - Thursday.

Russian students will attend a series of lectures and seminars on various aspects of American culture and the American view on the world given by graduate students from various departments (English, Political Science, and History) as well as high school/college educators will present. Some examples of seminars we look to offer:

  • To Kill a Mockingbird: Racial Inequality in the Southeastern United States;
  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington: An Introduction to the United States Government;
  • I Speak American: Accents and Regionalisms in American English;
  • Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall!: An American Perspective on the Cold War; and, EducateUSA: Education in the United States.

Both Alabama and Russian students will take part in a group project the duration of the program. This project, based in Project-Based Learning, will consist of the students identifying a problem/issue and working together to come up with a viable solution or plan. This type of activity will not only strengthen the bonds between the students but also give them the 21st century skills needed to succeed in our ever-globalizing world!


Camp Overview

June 30 Arrival Day 
July 1 Orientation Day
July 2 Classes Begin
July 4 Independence Day Celebration - Duckboat Tour of Mobile Bay and Cookout
July 6 Visit Montgomery (Governor’s mansion, Southern Poverty Law Center, and others)
July 7/ 8  Beach Day
July 13-15    Visit New Orleans (WWII museum,other museums, restaurants, jazz music etc.)
July 20  College Tour
July 21  Closing dinner and project presentation


Schedule for a Typical Day

08:30 AM - 09:15 AM Assembly/Breakfast
09:30 AM - 12:30 PM Classes
12:30 PM - 01:30 PM  Lunch (Cafeteria)
01:30 PM - 03:30 PM  Rec Center/Pool/Open Time/Tutors
03:30 PM - 06:00 PM Group Projects/Applied Learning
06:30 PM - 07:30 PM Dinner (Cafe or Cooking Demonstration)
08:00 PM - 10:00 PM  Evening Assembly
10:30 PM  Lights-out

(Most weekdays will follow this schedule; unless an excursion is planned.)

Students will live in university residence halls on campus at the University of South Alabama. Depending on enrollment numbers, Alabama students and Russian students will be partnered up as roommates to provide additional cultural exchange opportunities. Residence hall rooms are two-person hotel-style rooms with ensuite bathrooms, refrigerators, and individual air conditioning units. Students will have access to the residence halls via scancard access. Residence-life and maintenance staff are available 24 hours a day to assist students living in the residence halls.

Students will be provided two meals per day (lunch and dinner). Meals will be served in our buffet-style cafeteria, The Fresh Food Company, located in the residential area. Some meals will be provided as a cooking demonstration where students will learn about traditional dishes in the Southeastern United States and Russia. Students wishing to have breakfast will have the opportunity to purchase breakfast for $7.00 at the cafeteria or to purchase groceries and keep them in their rooms.  

*Bed linens are provided and included in the cost of the program. Alabama students should bring their own pillows. Pillows will be provided for Russian students and is included in the cost of the program.

Domestic Students

There are three categories of domestic students based on where the student resides. The table below lists the appropriate cost by region. The following is included in the cost of the program:

  • Room and board (2 meals per day) for the entirety of the program
  • Cultural programming
  • Excursions (all travel, accommodations, and entrance fees)
  • 3 USA credit hours
  • Class materials (including textbooks and online access via USAonline)
  • Bed linens
  • Insurance
  • Access to university facilities (library, recreation center, etc.)
  • Live-in chaperones


Regardless of which category, every domestic student for Connections USA must meet both of the following criteria:

  • Rising Junior or Senior
  • Minimum GPA
    •  3.25 high school GPA with no ACT required or
    •  3.0 high school GPA with a 25 composite ACT score

Breakdown of costs by region  

Domestic Students within the University's service area $1699
Alabama Residents from outside the University's service area $2699
Students from outside of Alabama or the University's service area $3699
University of South Alabama Service Area: Residents of Mobile and Baldwin counties in Alabama, Escambia and Santa Rosa counties in Florida, and George, Greene, Harrison, Jackson, Perry, and Stone counties in Mississippi 


Russian Students 

The total cost of the program is $1999. The following is included in the cost of the program:

  • Room and board (2 meals per day) for the entirety of the program
  • Cultural programming
  • Excursions (all travel, accommodations, and entrance fees)
  • Instruction (lectures, seminars, etc.)
  • Class materials (including textbooks and online access via USAonline
  • Bed linens
  • Insurance
  • Access to the university recreation center
  • Live-in chaperones

Alabama Students will get:

  • Official University of South Alabama credit hours
  • An on-campus college experience
  • Access to the same amenities as South Alabama students
  • A rich cultural experience
  • Real-world experience in an international setting