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Across Three Continents

Reflections on Immigration, Education, and Personal Survival

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Katerina Bodovski

Born in Soviet Moscow, Katerina Bodovski was twelve years old when Mikhail Gorbachev came to power, coming of age as the «perestroika» and «glasnost» movement gained full speed. She would later arrive in Israel during the peak of the peace process during which time Prime Minister Rabin was assassinated. Her final move to America, months after the upset of 9/11, would also directly and indirectly shape the way her personal journey unfolded.
The unique feature of this work lies in the combination of autobiographical narrative and sociological analysis. By personalizing accounts of immigration, education, and family transformations, this book discusses the author’s firsthand experiences in Soviet Russia, Israel, and the United States. The book speaks to scholars of education by providing examples and patterns in educational systems of the Soviet Union, Israel, and the United States. Beyond academia, the book will resonate with immigrants who have experienced transitions between lands and languages. Furthermore, Dr. Bodovski utilizes her female perspective to illuminate different aspects of family life, immigration processes, and, finally, her experiences in United States academia as a doctoral student and a professor.
Across Three Continents: Reflections on Immigration, Education, and Personal Survival will be of specific interest to women, especially young women, who are trying to figure out the interplay between their family and professional life and what is possible for them to aspire for and to achieve. This text is ideal for courses focused on comparative education, women’s studies, Jewish studies, sociology of education, childhood, and immigration.
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Part III: North America: My America

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  PART III

North America: My America

Penn State

Among the five doctoral programs to which I applied, Penn State offered me the best deal in terms of financial support, covering tuition and providing a modest stipend. Penn State also paid a significant part of the medical insurance for graduate students and their dependents. I was very excited about my prospects of working with Professor George Farkas. I was familiar with George’s work from writing my master’s thesis, and we had started our conversation long before I arrived in the States. I can’t say that preparing to go overseas for my doctoral study was an easy process. But this decision was so right for me and for my family that we did it in good spirits. We didn’t know what to expect because neither of us had ever been in the United States But that wasn’t the first time when I was about to land on a continent I’ve never visited. Most people were supportive and excited for us. Some of our friends, however, were puzzled about how we had enough energy for yet another drastic geographical transition; others were amazed at my husband’s willingness to “give up” his life in Israel for the sake of his wife’s doctoral study. Interestingly and quite tellingly, if the situation had been reversed (a wife leaving her job and traveling for her husband’s education or career), it would have never been questioned. We both knew it was a...

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