Russian "Ambassador" In Breda
The Carroll Herald, September 1989
Sergey Usenko is in Breda, Iowa, through an exchange
of agriculture students program between Iowa State University
in Ames and the Agricultural Institute of Stavropol in Russia.
He and two other Russian students, Aleksandr Nikitin and Aleksandr
Bobrusez, came to the United Stated about two months ago to learn
about Iowa-style farming.
The three "Russian ambassadors" live and
work with host families during their stay in Iowa. Sergey arrived
at the home of his second host family, Roger [son of Louis Nieland
and grandson of John Henry Nieland] and Mary Ann Nieland, on Sept.
15, and hopes to stay here a month. While here he will lean more
about U.S. agriculture and will determine if Iowa's definition
of the family farm can be replicated effectively in the hilly
regions of southern Russia.
Sergey's first host family was Mr. and Mrs. Fred
Strohbein at Reinbeck, IA. Mary Ann said that they have all been
invited to visit the Strohbein farm on Oct. 1, to celebrate Sergey's
24th birthday. In fact, all three of the Russian exchange students
will celebrate their birthdays while in the U.S, therefore sharing
the special experience of growing a little older in America!
Majoring in farm mechanics, Sergey is a 4th year
graduate student at the Institute of Stavropol in southern Russia.
He is married, has a two-year-old son, and plays the guitar. Sergey's
favorite American food is pizza, and since discovering it, he
loves to play "Nintendo"!
While in Iowa, the three Russian students are paid
a wage plus receive room and board from their host families, but
are treated just like a member of the family. As a special treat
for Mary Ann's birthday, which was Friday, Sept. 22, Sergey made
Russian soup for her. She and Roger and their family feel very
fortunate to be a host family to Sergey through the agriculture
As an initial phase of a major student exchange
in 1990, three ISU students, Kari Neumann of Denison and Kevin
Johnston and Kevin Eblem, both of Creston, spent ten weeks in
the Soviet Union this summer, learning about the Russian culture
and agriculture. Scheduled for next summer, the exchange will
involve sending 20 or more ISU students with agricultural backgrounds
to the Soviet Union. In exchange, a group of Soviet students will
come to Iowa.
According to J. T. Scott, an associate dean of the
College of Agriculture and coordinator of International Agricultural
Programs at ISU, the goal of the exchange "is to bring a
closer relationship between America and the Soviet Union through
reciprocal visits of our young adults."
"This has positive implications for international
peace and international trade," he said. "And on a more
personal basis, the farm families that host these people have
an opportunity to lean about the Soviet Union first hand and to
make friends that can last a lifetime."
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