Russian businesswomen visit Alaska
As Russia, the leader of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, continues its transition from a communist system to a free market place, Rotary International continues to sponsor Group Study Exchanges (GSE) between Alaska and their western neighbors. The most recent exchange was a group of five Russian businesswomen from the Far East cities of Vladivostok and Ussuriisk, Russia. “This is a chance for us to meet with professionals in our same field here in Alaska and share our experience,” said the team leader Tatiana Sergienko, a Lawyer from Ussuriisk, Russia. Sergienko said that while there are many similarities between the Russian and Alaskan climates, the professional and business climate are very different. “That is why it is very interesting for us to have this group study experience. As a lawyer I see that here you utilize a lot of technology which we do not have in my country, so I have learned many ideas that I can use in my job,” said Sergienko. “We are experiencing many changes in my country and it is hard to work in the field of law because of the many changes that come every month and of course it is necessary to follow all those changes,” added Sergienko.
The idea of Rotary Clubs is still very new in Russia but Sergienko says Rotary is showing people a new way of thinking and of cooperating with people abroad. “Rotary is showing us new horizons and how we can be friends not only in the fields of economics and politics, but true friends in ordinary lifepeople having fun together and enjoying life together.”
Members of the Rotary International Russian Group Study Exchange visit Soldotna Visitors Center to learn about Alaskan tourism.
Another member of the GSE team, Irene Novgorodskaya from Vladivostok, was a former teacher who started her own tourist company in 1996. “We are now the largest private tourist company in our region. Before when we were Soviet Union there was only one tourist company for the whole country, but now there are private tourist companies in every city,” said Novgorodskaya. While in Alaska the five-member GSE group visited Anchorage and Fairbanks prior to coming to the Kenai Peninsula. “It was the most interesting here in Kenai and Soldotna and we are thankful to all those who hosted and spent time with us. We look forward to welcoming you to Russia when your group visits us,” said Sergienko.
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