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28 Jun, 2010 17:30

Former Russian expats combat difficulties shoulder to shoulder

Alumni of exchange programs between Russia and the US held their annual summer reunion at the US Embassy Dacha for a day of fun and heavy networking.

The Muskie Club unites people from the former Soviet Union who had a chance to study in the US. Apart from a prestigious diploma, life in the US gave them cultural and professional experience.

“If you go abroad for another experience for another education program, it’s much better for you because you will know more, you will understand more. As a result, you will bring more experience for your company, for your people, for your family,” Harvard graduate Roman Savin told RT.

However, bringing experience back can prove quite challenge – especially if you return to your motherland hoping to take the business world by storm, right in the middle of financial downturn.

Muskie Club President Marina Zinovieva knows the situation from the inside. She earned a graduate law degree from the University of Minnesota and arrived in the country to start from scratch. Now she is a managing partner of LegaLife, a Russian law firm with European seed capital.

Zinovieva believes that keeping former expats together equals big results – for example, the tight community has helped many of its members weather the financial crisis surprisingly well.

“At the last reunion, I met a young lawyer and in two months I hired him. Many alumni hold very high positions with big international companies and they need people,” Zinovieva told RT.

Her cofounder, Anastasia Ekhart, agrees: people coming back from abroad need guidance.

“They don’t know anybody and so they have an ‘entry point’ of establishing a circle of friends and a network that will be helpful for work,” Ekhart said.