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  • Locations: Bucharest, Romania; Chisinau, Moldova; Iasi, Romania; Kiev, Ukraine; Suceava, Romania
  • Program Terms: Early Fall
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Budget Sheets: Early Fall
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Foreign Language Required: None Primary Language(s) of Instruction: English
Affiliated Department: CHID UW Study Abroad Program Manager: Darielle Horsey
Charging: 61YYYYQ682 UW Credits: 5
UW Program Director: Ileana Marin, Mark Gitenstein Estimated Program Fee: $3,500
UW Program Staff Email:,
Program Information:

Location Bucharest, Romania
Academic Term Early Fall
08/26/2019 - 09/19/2019
Estimated Program Fee $4,300
Credits 5
Prerequisites No prerequisites for this program.
Program Directors Ileana Marin |
Mark Gitenstein
Program Manager Darielle Horsey |
Priority Application Deadline February 15, 2019
Extended Application Deadline March 17, 2019
Information Sessions January 23, 3:30-4:30 PM; February 1, 12:30-1:30; February 7, 1:30-2:30 in PDL C101
General We will explore the most Eastward limits of the European Union in a month of intensive study and travel.

Program Description

This program gives students the rare opportunity to examine the behind-the-scenes diplomacy that governs relationships along the contested borders of Eastern Europe. Crossing old, now-forgotten borders, as well as current demarcation lines between EU and Non-EU countries at the edge of the old continent, we will engage with centuries-old histories of territorial fighting while meeting with top local scholars, officials, and diplomats. Students will gain first-hand experience of the effects of transition from authoritarian systems to democracy and learn how local communities navigate questions of national identity, cultural legacy, and independence.

We will visit three capital cities (Bucharest, Chisinau, and Kiev) and three former border cities (Bran, Hotin, Chernivtsi), exploring the limits of the pro-European world at the eastern and western frontiers of Ukraine. It is in these borderlands that students will examine the legally grey area of population migration and the tensions between old and new borders that are disputed by the EU and Russia through social media, international governing bodies, and even military action.

Reflecting on values that transcend borders such as human rights, tolerance, and democracy, as well as on the unique aspects of specific cultures in the region, students will absorb both critically and emotionally the encounter with a historically diverse, yet stereotypically simplified part of the world. These countries make the news mostly for human trafficking, cyber-crime, and escalating conflict, but these accounts ignore the struggles of their highly educated, pro-western, younger generations against nationalism and corruption. This interdisciplinary program approaches holistically the issue of borders in three countries that have become "front-line states in a new Cold War."




Bucharest, Romania


Students and faculty will stay in the dorms of the "Stephan the Great" University in Suceava, the "Al.I Cuza" University in Iasi (Romania), and the "Taras Schevcenko" National University in Kiev (Ukraine). In Bucharest, the group will stay at Siqua Hotel. 



Prerequisites and Language Requirements

No prerequisites for this program. This program does not require excessive amounts of walking, but students should be aware that they will use public transportation and they may need to walk around more than they usually do in the US.


5 UW Quarter Credits


CHID 471JSIS: CHID Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine: The Borderlands between East and West (5 credits) I&S

Borders, borderlands, boundaries, thresholds, and frontiers are theoretical concepts with immediate functionality in real life. Natural or man-made, borders have been under attack mostly in strategic parts of the world, i.e. the buffer zone of the EU. Using the three countries we visit as living textbooks, we will explore the concept of borders that indicates the political, national, and cultural separation of territories, as well as more sophisticated perspectives according to which borders are territories in their own right. By analyzing ethnic diversity and multiculturalism, the course investigates the causes of conflicts, economic crises, and drastic socio-political changes at the border of the EU, in the region that is called the "buffer zone of the EU". While Romania is a EU member, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine aspire to join the union, hoping to implement the rule of law, political pluralism, free market, and democratic institutions. Theoretical approaches to borders, such as Thomas Nail's Theory of the Border and Robert Kaplan's In Europe's Shadow, will give students access to a reality that politicians distort: borders are not marked only in order to separate two static societies, but also to unite peoples evolving and moving around. Thus, kinopolitics, the theory of social motion, represents another major component of our course.

The course combines the study of primary documents which have defined and regulated borders with the analysis of famous works by prominent Romanian, Moldovan and Ukrainian authors. We will read texts ranging across literary genres, starting with short novels on Romanian old and new borders: The Night by Nobel Prize winner Elie Wisel and The Passport by another Nobel Prize winner Herta Muller. We will also examine poems by Mihai Eminescu, Ana Blandiana, Marin Sorescu, Paul Celan (Romania); Grigore Vieru, Leonida Lari (Moldova); Taras Shevchenko, Anna Bagriana, and Vasyl Holoborodko, each dealing with national identity or independence, holocaust or war. The analysis of historical, political, and cultural contexts of these texts, some of which were censored by communist authorities, will provide a closer look at the conditions which led policy makers to repress literature and will enable us to understand how these texts threatened the political establishment in former USSR and Romania. Using literature, art, and film as documents reflecting on how regular people survive continuous challenges and overcome obstacles, the course will uncover both hidden meanings and social expectations of these works at the time of their release.

This course is structured in three parts. In Romania, students will learn about and have a direct experience of living in a EU country while still undergoing a problematic transition from communism to democracy and free market. In Republic of Moldova, we will examine what it means to live literally on the border between East and West, between EU and non-EU territories, within a multi-ethnic society torn by contradictions. In Ukraine, we will explore the highest level of political tensions between Russophiles and pro-EU generations who desire change. In all three countries, students will compare their theoretical and literary readings to concrete experiences and encounters. 

Learning goals include:
The goal of this on-site course is to provide a substantial experience of the socio-political and cultural mix that characterizes the buffer zone of the EU that separates Western and Central Europe from Russia. As students move from one country to another, and cross old and new borderlines, they will become aware of the impact of recent events and political choices these people have to live with when extreme political parties take over their countries. Another major goal is to place the concept of borders in dialogue with literary, artistic, and filmic representations that offer an in-depth examination of cultural diversity triggered by fluctuating borders. More importantly, upon return, students will be able to think critically about one of the hottest issues of contemporary world as they will incorporate on-site research and observations, resources that local scholars provided, as well as UW library sources into their final projects that will be presented in the REECAS students' conference.









Ileana Marin
CHID, Jackson School of International Studies

Ileana Marin, affiliated with Jackson School of International Studies, currently collaborates with the Center of Excellence in Image Studies at the University of Bucharest where she teaches courses in Spring. She is the founder of the Seattle based non-profit American Romanian Cultural Society that organizes the Romanian Film Festival in collaboration with SIFF and helps bring guests from Romania to the University of Washington. Relying on an extensive experience in teaching both in Romania and the US, and on her expertise in interdisciplinary studies (ranging from literature to film, politics to art, oppressive regimes), she is confident that this program will be an eye-opening for the UW students, and a turning-point in their lives and careers.

Mark Gitenstein

Mark Gitenstein is a retired diplomat who served as the US Ambassador to Romania between 2009 and 2012. The focus of his mandate was strengthening the rule of law and anticorruption regimes in Romania. He also actively promoted deeper development of Romania’s equity markets. The US-Romanian Ballistic Missile Defense Agreement was negotiated and signed during his tenure. He is a senior counsel in the Government, International Trade practice in Mayer Brown's Washington DC office, and serves on the board of and is President of the Biden Foundation. He is very engaged with developments in Romania, Moldova and Ukraine.





Program Expenses

Estimated Program Fee: $4,300

Included in the program fee:

  • $450 Study Abroad Fee
  • $350 CHID Fee
  • Instruction
  • Housing
  • Program activities and program travel
Not included in the program fee:
  • Airfare (average price subject to when and where your buy your ticket - $1,500)
  • Food (about $15/day)
  • UW Student Abroad Insurance ($1.64/day)
  • Other health expenses/immunizations
  • Personal spending money

Payment Due Date: October 11, 2019

Program fees will be posted to your MyUW student account and can be paid the same way that you pay tuition and other fees. Check your MyUW Account periodically for due dates.

Financial Aid

  • A large percentage of UW students utilize financial aid to study abroad. Most types of financial aid can be applied to study abroad fees.
  • You can submit a revision request to increase the amount of aid for the quarter you are studying abroad. These additional funds are usually awarded in the form of loans. To apply, fill out a revision request form, attach the budget sheet (available via the link at the top of this brochure) and submit these documents to the Office of Student Financial Aid.  For more information about this process, consult the Financial Aid section of our website.
  • Consult the Financial Aid section of our website for more information on applying for financial aid, special considerations for summer and early fall programs, and budgeting and fundraising tips.


  • There are many scholarships designed to fund students studying abroad. The UW Study Abroad administers a study abroad scholarship program and there are national awards available as well.
  • Scholarships vary widely in their parameters. Some are need-based, some are location-based, and some are merit-based.
  • To be considered for a UW Study Abroad Scholarship fill out a short questionnaire on your UW Study Abroad program application.  You must apply by the priority application deadline for the program in order to be considered for a scholarship.  Click the Overview tab to view application deadlines.
  • Consult our Scholarships page to learn about UW-based and national scholarships. The Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships, and Awards can help you learn about additional opportunities.

Budgeting Tools

We understand that figuring out your finances for study abroad can be complicated and we are here to help. Below are some ways to find additional support.

  • Click on the Budget Sheets link at the top of this brochure to view the estimated budget of all expenses for this program.
  • Contact the Global Opportunities Adviser at to learn more about how to pay for study abroad.
  • Attend a Financial Planning Workshop offered by UW Study Abroad – more information is on the Events page of our website.
  • Visit the Finances section of our website.



Application Process

The study abroad application includes a personal statement, three short answer questions, one recommendation from a professor or TA, and electronic signature documents related to UW policies and expectations for study abroad. Following the online application process, you may be contacted by the program director for an in-person interview. Once an admission decision has been made regarding your application, you will be notified by the study abroad system via email.


To be eligible to study abroad, you must complete the mandatory pre-departure online orientation provided by UW Study Abroad. You must also attend program-specific orientations offered by the program director.

You will be able to access the online orientation through your study abroad application once you have been accepted to a program. Orientation must be completed prior to the enrollment deadline for the quarter that you are studying abroad.


UW Study Abroad is not responsible for obtaining visas for study abroad program participants. The cost and requirements for obtaining visas vary. It is your responsibility to determine visa requirements for all countries you plan to visit while abroad including countries that you plan to visit before or after your study abroad program. This is an especially important consideration if you are planning to do more than one study abroad program. You can research visa requirements by calling the consular offices of those countries or checking the following website:

Note: If you are not a U.S. citizen, consult the embassy or consulate of the countries you will visit to learn their document requirements. You can check the following website to find contact information for the consulate of the country you will be visiting:

For non-U.S. citizens, the procedures that you will need to follow may be different than those for U.S. citizens. It is important to initiate this process as soon as possible in order to assemble documents and allow time for lengthy procedures.

Disability Accommodations

The University of Washington is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, and education for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation for this program, contact Disability Resources for Students at least 8 weeks in advance of your departure date. Contact info at


$350 of the total program fee and the $450 UW Study Abroad Fee are non-refundable once you have submitted a contract. Students withdrawing from a program are responsible for paying a percentage of the program fee depending on the date of withdrawal. More details about the withdrawal policy will be included in your payment contract. No part of the program fee is refundable once the program has begun. The date of withdrawal is considered the business day a withdrawal application is received by UW Study Abroad. Notice of withdrawal from the program must be made in writing by completing the following steps:

  1. Provide notice in writing to the program director that you will no longer be participating in the program.
  2. Submit a withdrawal application to UW Study Abroad.

Visit the Withdrawals section of our website for more information.