Terri Easley

Speaking across continents

Terri Easley, associate professor, speech and debate, didn’t expect her recent visit to Russia would involve multiple lectures on American weddings, but hey, it’s enthralled her mostly-female audience. 

She visited Udmurt State University in Izhevsk, Russia to plan for JCCC’s newest offering to the sister school: Intercultural Communications (SPD 180). 

Easley, unmarried but long on bridesmaid experience, said she gave lectures about speech, debate and graduation, but her most popular lecture was on the production of an American wedding. 

“They found out I was a bridesmaid in four weddings last year. They were fascinated by American weddings, so I gave about 15 lectures about them,” she said, using wedding photos from her laptop as visual aids. “I have been in so many weddings, I am almost like that girl from 27 Dresses.” 

In Russia, Easley said, weddings are more sedate and lack the more theatrical elements of an American ceremony, such as matching bridesmaid dresses, formal attire and over-the-top decorations. 

These differences only highlighted the root similarities between American and Russian students. “You think it’s an entirely different country, so students will be entirely different. But they really aren’t all that different. Of all the things I did while I was there, I enjoyed working with the students the most.” 

Intercultural Communications was first offered as an online class for both JCCC and Udmurt State students for the spring semester of 2013, but the Udmurt State/JCCC partnership began in 1993. It originally (and quite obviously) concentrated on the English language. 

English teachers from Udmurt State have visited JCCC, and English teachers from JCCC also have visited the Russian college. This is the first speech class to be offered through the exchange. 

“I think it’s really nice when we have more partnerships,” Easley said. “It just opens up so many more possibilities.”