GC Spotlight: Dr. Yaryna Andrushko

Yaryna Andrushko, a visiting scholar and researcher from Ukraine, embarked on a transformative journey that led her to the shores of the United States, where she has been making a significant impact in the field of psychology. In a recent interview, she shared her experiences, aspirations, and passions, giving us a glimpse into her life.

When asked about what brought her to the USA, her response carried a weight of profound significance. She explained that the ongoing war in Ukraine, which began in February 2022, was one of the primary catalysts for her decision to seek refuge and for a fresh start in America. Her courageous spirit and unwavering determination propelled her to seek security and the opportunity to restart in a new land.

When reflecting upon her initial impressions of living in the USA, her eyes lit up with admiration and gratitude. She expressed her heartfelt appreciation for the support provided to individuals with disabilities, particularly in terms of mobility. Yaryna found  empowering the abundance of resources available to assist those with disabilities to access facilities, stores, and urban centers. Such inclusive measures reinforced her belief in the importance of equal opportunities for all, regardless of physical limitations.

However, amidst her newfound appreciation for her adopted home, Yaryna confessed that she occasionally felt the pangs of homesickness. She longed for the warm embrace of her friends and family back in Ukraine, as well as the familiar tastes and aromas of her homeland’s cuisine. Yet, her dedication to her work and the pursuit of knowledge serve as a constant source of inspiration and resilience during moments of nostalgia.

Yaryna’s academic pursuits center around the field of psychology, a discipline in which she has excelled both professionally and academically. With a career as an associate professor in the Ukraine University and with a vast scientific publication collection, she brings a wealth of expertise and a passion for understanding the intricacies of the human mind and behavior. In addition, she operates a private therapist office, where she has made a lasting impact on countless individuals seeking healing and personal growth. Likewise, she has supported women who have experienced different types of violence. Her research focus at Penn State revolves around trauma, aiming to enhance her assistance to individuals who have been traumatized by the war in Ukraine, thereby helping the Ukrainian community affected by the war, not only those living in the USA but also in different parts of the world.

In sharing more about herself, Yaryna revealed her vibrant and sociable nature. She finds peace in connections with nature and through her passionate hiking activity that allows her to fully immerse herself in the beauty of the world. Alongside her love for nature, she is also a lover of dancing, music, and connecting with people. Her commitment to personal well-being and mindfulness practices further enhance her capacity to empower others in their journeys of self-discovery and inner healing.

Furthermore, Yaryna’s expertise extends to the field of art therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). By combining the creative process of art with the principles of therapy, she facilitates a transformative experience for individuals seeking emotional and psychological well-being. Yaryna’s multidimensional approach to healing emphasizes the importance of holistic care and the integration of various therapeutic modalities.

Yaryna’s journey with Global Connections began shortly after her arrival in the USA. Seeking to improve her English skills, she reached out to her colleagues for guidance on finding language lessons. Through a colleague, she discovered a program that connected her with Bob Persiko, who became her mentor. Bob not only assisted her with formulating articles in English, but he also provided invaluable support with grammar, a subject she found challenging.

Being a member of Global Connections has had a significant impact on Yaryna’s life. She appreciates the opportunity to participate in various events and engage with a diverse community. Among her cherished moments with Global Connections, the recent hiking encounter at Stone Valley and Shaver’s Creek stands out as a favorite. When asked what advice she would give to someone interested in getting involved with Global Connections, Yaryna’s response was simple: Just do it! She emphasizes the importance of participating in activities and connecting with others, recognizing the value of socializing and expanding one’s horizons.

In contemplating the meaning of life, Yaryna offers a heartfelt perspective. For her, life is about living in a way that is worthwhile and filled with love. She believes in the power of giving and sharing with others, not just in personal endeavors but also within the community and society at large. She embraces the concept of the boomerang effect, trusting that when you give something good, it will eventually come back to you in a positive way, even if not immediately apparent.

Yaryna Andrushko’s inspiring journey exemplifies the transformative power of seeking new experiences, embracing connections, and making meaningful contributions to the world. Her dedication to psychology, love for nature, and commitment to personal growth continue to shine brightly, illuminating the lives of those around her. As we shine a spotlight on Yaryna Andrushko, her story serves as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the transformative power of embracing new beginnings. 

The 57th Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts

Get ready for the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, one of the biggest arts festivals. This traditional event, now in its 57th year, offers an array of activities. Whether your interests lie in art shows, delectable food and drinks, exquisite wines, craft vendors, captivating live music both indoors and outdoors, mesmerizing street paintings, banner exhibitions and competitions, engaging costume contests, or any other form of entertainment, these extraordinary festival days promise a delightful experience for everyone! 🎨
📅 Dates: July 13th-16th
🏟️ Venue: Downtown State College & Penn State Campus

The resilient and kind-hearted Global Connections’ member Cristy Marquez

Resilience stands out among the many words we could use to describe this amazing person. Her name is Cristina Marquez, also known as Cristy. She is a kind-hearted woman from Mexico. She earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a master’s degree in innovation for business development. Interestingly, today she is among us spreading self-awareness and love through her yoga practice.

Cristy is from Ciudad Juarez, a desert city at the border with the US that is industrially developed. About three years ago, she moved to State College. She made the decision to go along with her husband, who began his Ph.D. studies at Penn State University, in order to take the opportunity to learn new things and learn more about other cultures.

In the past, Cristy had the opportunity to visit the United States, but her experience living in Pennsylvania has been quite different. One interesting feature of this new life has been the immersion in the English language, which helped her to develop her communication skills. Another one is the calm university town with an international environment, surrounded by nature with a different climate and landscapes than what she was used to.

We asked her if she has ever felt sad or lonely living in the US, and she said, “The homesick feeling just came last year (December 2022) because I could not see my family for Christmas.” However, she added that the community brings support to her. English classes, a discussion group, and other activities have helped her to reduce these feelings. “That’s why I’m really grateful for the friendships these activities give me.” She adds, “the beauty is to be surrounded by these amazing friends from all over the world. We share a sense of family because we are in the same situation being abroad and far from our loved ones.”

We also asked her if she had experienced any cultural shock because of the differences between America and her home country. She explained that because she came from the border with the USA, she had already a good sense of how things work here. Perhaps the “shock” was more about how the university town operates in contrast to her city, which is very dynamic.

When we enquired about her journey in yoga, she mentioned that while living in Mexico, she was a Business Program Advisor and a teacher of the Department for Freshmen Students at TEC of Monterrey University. She had already tried yoga classes, but back then she did not have enough time to dive deeply into it because of the day-to-day rush. When she moved to State College, things changed. While the pandemic was still going on, she attended yoga classes at Penn State via Zoom. She then began exploring other yoga events happening in the neighborhood, and that is how she found out later about YogaLab studio. Then, a chance came up and she received a scholarship from them to become a Certified Yoga Instructor.

What does yoga mean to Cristy? “Oh, I think it is my happy place because it’s something that I really enjoy. It allows me to be creative and it keeps me honest with myself, motivated, and enthusiastic”. She also added, “teaching gets me out of my comfort zone, which is good to continue learning from people and their practice”. Moreover, Cristy wants to keep studying new methods, techniques, and understandings in the yoga field to apply in her classes. “I would like to bring more knowledge into my teaching, to connect and offer more options to my students. Meditation is also a path that I would like to delve into in the near future. Regarding this topic, I recently finished a Mindfulness Stress Reduction program at PSU that will be very useful for this purpose.”

She not only brings her sensibility through yoga, but she also beautifully connects with her soul through dancing and music. “I love to find joyful music moments during my day, like activities that invite me to move freely, maybe adding some dance steps to keep the experience positive and charming. Even the supermarket can be one place where I can get these micro-moments of bliss.”

Her involvement with Global Connections started two and a half years ago. Her husband, who arrived first to the area as a Ph.D. international student, learned about the organization at a University fair and sent her the information. She contacted GC while still in Mexico, and when she arrived at State College, she began her journey as a participant in its different activities, and as a member.

We asked her how GC has supported her during this journey, and she said, “It brings me a sense of community, for example being part of the discussion group Making Sense of the American Experience, has allowed me to share ideas and culture in an open, safe and friendly space. That’s why I believe its name truly encompasses what it seeks”.

Finally, we asked Cristy what is the best part of being a GC member, and she told us that she loves the great wisdom from people and the sense of belonging. “Here I feel embraced and encouraged, for example, when I have asked Bob (GC President) for advice, he promptly is willing to assist me!” For some, this may seem simple but it is not common to receive this kind of support and help anywhere. As a final thought, she left us with the following Mother Theresa quote: “Love cannot remain by itself – it has no meaning. Love has to be put into action, and that action is service […]”

Housing for incoming student

The Department of Applied Linguistics of The Pennsylvania State University is looking for a temporary place to stay for a newly arriving student this fall. Before occupying his apartment, Ximeng Shao must stay in a temporary place only from August 6th to August 13th. If you can help or know someone who can, please contact [email protected] – Celeste Kinginger, Director of Graduate Studies of Department of Applied Linguistics at PSU 

State College Spikes Baseball Game

Come join other Global Connections members for an enjoyable evening of baseball, socializing, and eating. The Spikes will be playing against the West Virginia Black Bears. 

It’s “wine Wednesday!” Adults can enjoy half-price glasses of wine supplied by Seven Mountains Wine Cellars.

When: Wednesday, June 21, at 6:35 PM

Where: Medlar Field at Lubrano Park (next to Beaver Stadium)

Who: GC members, family, and guests (prospective members)

Cost: $14 per ticket. Food and drinks extra

No need to pre-register for this event. Interested people should gather at the entrance near the ticket booths at 6:00 PM on June 21. Individuals pay for their own tickets after we choose a block of seats where we can sit together.

Baseball offers a unique experience in American culture. Even if you don’t know much about baseball, a game like this can be fun. There is a festive atmosphere at the ballpark. There are areas for kids to play. The food and drink offerings are tasty. It’s an opportunity to get to know other Global Connections members.

Centre Gives: Thank you!

We want to express our sincere gratitude for your generous support during Centre Gives. We are incredibly grateful for your generosity and your belief in our mission. Your support means the world to us. Thank you so much for making a difference!

Centre Gives

Centre County is hosting the biggest giving event in the area, and Global Connections is waiting for your help. Centre Gives is happening from May 10th, starting at 8 AM, till May 11th, ending at 8 PM. To help Global Connections Please, donate Here! We trully appreciate your generosity. 

Global Connections’ goal during Centre Gives is to raise $2,000. The money will be used to strengthen our finances and expand program offerings.

Our activities include free classes to learn English as a Second Language (ESL), book clubs, cultural luncheons, a discussion group, poetry readings, and informal cultural, educational, and exchange activities and interactions. Also, with the fund, GC can help people in need in the community.

Another essential goal during Centre Gives is to spread the word about Global Connections’ work. It is important to emphasize that no money would go to administrative costs. We aim to foster meaningful relationships through service, education, and partnership. 

Saudi Arabian Cultural Luncheon

Tuesday, April 25, brought Saudi Arabia to State College when Global Connections hosted a Saudi-themed Cultural Luncheon at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Port Matilda.

Heartfelt thanks go to Manar Salamah and her expert team of cooks who prepared a splendid array of Saudi dishes to serve to the 20 guests who registered for the event. Thanks, too, to GC member Abdulaziz Albawardi, who gave an interesting and informative presentation on Saudi Arabia’s strategic goals for 2030.

After the two-year COVID-19 hiatus, we are overjoyed that GC is again been able to mount in-person Cultural Luncheons, one of the pillars of our many activities, We look forward to more such luncheons in the near future and will keep you posted as details arise.

Saudi Arabian Cultural Luncheon

Global Connections (GC), Centre County’s first and longest standing (since 1961) community-based, volunteer-driven non-profit international relations organization, will host a Saudi Arabian luncheon.

This gathering marks a welcome return to cherished Global Connections tradition and is our first in-person cultural luncheon since before the pandemic.

Native Saudis will prepare and serve hot and cold dishes from their country and make presentations on Saudi Arabian culture.  There will also be Saudi music and time for Q&A.

Interested in this unique event? Please, Register Here!

Admission charge is $10 for registered Global Connections members and $15 for nonmembers.   

Global Connections ESL tutor helps former GC member launch U.S. citizenship

One of the very first things Dr. Olga Bakayev, dermatologist from Moscow, did when she relocated to State College in May 2019 was to join Global Connections (GC). “When I arrived in State College,” Olga notes, “my English was nowhere near good enough to pass the US Medical Licensing Exams and get certified by the Educational Commission for Foreign-Trained Medical Graduates so that I could practice medicine in the US. Global Connections kept popping up as a good resource for learning and practicing English, so I joined up. I am really glad I did.”

Olga started out in GC President Bob Persiko’s English Language Classes (www.gc-cc.org/programs/english-language-classes/).  She then contacted Wenjie Fu at Penn State’s Global Programs Office to learn about other available resources. Serendipitously, just a few days before that, GC Treasurer Bruce Truitt had offered to serve as a Global Programs Conversation Partner for Russian (and Spanish) speakers. Wenjie connected Olga and Bruce, and after an initial meeting on June 24, 2019, they began weekly sessions focusing on English grammar, usage, and conversation and on various aspects of the American experience. 

“I am thankful to Bruce for illuminating the similarities between English and Russian grammar. His insights helped me establish a strong foundation in the new language. I truly appreciate his patient and nonjudgmental approach, which enabled me to overcome the fear of speaking English so common among beginners,” Olga noted. 

Olga also feels that “The process of integrating a new member into American society is often undervalued. Even if one has a good grasp of English, cultural differences and social barriers can still pose significant challenges to this integration. This is why I am so glad that Bruce not only taught me English but also helped me learn important things about US society, culture, politics, geography, the arts, and so on. We have worked together steadily over the last 3.5 years, even though I relocated to Brooklyn. And our regular meetings definitely helped me pass the first of the three Medical Licensing Tests I must conquer.”

Olga recently surmounted another critical hurdle – she passed her U.S. Citizenship Test. “I am elated and proud to be an American. I could not have done it without Bruce’s expert assistance or the support of Global Connections. Thanks so much!”