UCF students with the desire to uncover insight into Russia and Eastern Europe will feel at home in the Russian Club.

Just last semester, the Russian Club brought the Russian Ballet to preform at UCF.

The ballet raised $2,850 that went to the Ukrainian Down Syndrome Organization and the Balkan Food Relief. It also helped lower the cost for students to travel and stay in Russia for the study abroad program.

Russian Club meets every Monday at 5 p.m. in the Student Union, Cedar Key 223. Their first meeting is scheduled to be on Jan. 26.

This semester, the club has planned club movie nights and social outings to Russian restaurants.

“This semester Russian Club is planning a more social approach with more member interaction,” club president Irina Pidberejna said. “We invite everyone.”

She has served as the leader of Russian Club for two semesters now.

Along with normal club meetings and movie nights, the club also offers members the opportunity to dive into Russian culture. Russian Tea Hour, which meets separately from normal Russian Club meetings, focuses on culture and features delicious Russian dishes and tea. The meetings are hosted by Dr. Kourova, a Russian language professor at UCF. The first of these meeting are scheduled on Jan. 30 from 2-3 p.m. in Colbourn Hall, conference room 513.

UCF is also scheduled to have Russian exchange students from Grott’s School for the Blind and Visually Impaired visit later in the year. This is because of a special US-Russia Peer-to-Peer Dialogue Program that provides a grant worth $100,000.

The program serves to strengthen mutual understanding and trust, and hopes to take U.S.-Russian relations to a new level. The program sponsors a group of lucky individuals to travel to St. Petersburg to further their interaction with Russian children and experience culture.

Tara Langford, a member of the club, stresses how important U.S. relations with Russia are now more than ever.

“This grant program has been an incredible opportunity to learn more about Russian culture and meet some amazing Russian students,” Langford said. “We are at a critical point right now where the relationship between Russia and the United States is incredibly strained, and we need more programs like this to promote friendship and understanding between Russians and Americans.”

Although it is too late to visit Russia through the grant program, a study abroad program this summer will allow you to spend two weeks studying Russian language at Moscow State University in Moscow with included visits to other cities. This will be sponsored by Dr. Kourova.

You can find updates and learn more about the Russian Club on the Russian Club’s Facebook page or you can contact Russian Club at russianclubucf@gmail.com.