Our programs consist of seven different and parallel projects or efforts. Click the name of a program to learn more. Note: a plus sign means there is hidden text. You can click a minus sign to collapse the text.


The Medical Committee is also known as the Medical Partnership of Bloomington-Normal, and has worked in tandem with the Vladimir Medical Partnership Association since 1993. Partnership activities have included citywide health conferences in Vladimir, medical professional exchanges focused on various practice specialties, curriculum development with the Vladimir Medical College, and development of an Internet resource center and virtual library for health care professionals. These activities were funded through USAID SPAN grants, US Congress Open World Program grants, as well as local and private sources.

An exchange in May 2013 on the topic of "Promoting Health," involving ISU Kinesiology and Recreation faculty and staff, laid the foundation for additional professional collaboration and student exchange opportunities.

Student Exchange - Mennonite College of Nursing at ISU

Mennonite College of Nursing (MCN) has a long history of association with groups who care for and serve people throughout the world. This continues in a formalized academic manner through the Transcultural Nursing Experience. This experience provides students an avenue for personal and professional growth beyond the traditional boundaries of classroom and clinical practicums. One of MCN’s long-standing student exchanges is with Vladimir Medical College in Vladimir, Russia.

Dr. Wendy Woith, Mennonite College of Nursing at ISU, began this relationship in 1999 when she first traveled to Russia with Sister Cities members to do bedside nursing staff development. She has returned to Russia many times since for various professional experiences. In 2007 Dr. Woith traveled to Vladimir as part of an IBHE grant to work on a program that would help both partners, Mennonite College of Nursing and Vladimir Medical College, to learn more about nursing education, nursing practice, and the health care systems. Home stays were included as an integral component to contribute to the understanding of culture, foods, and traditions. Dr. Woith’s colleague in Vladimir, Tatiana Zaichikova, then brought two students and a translator for the first exchange in fall 2008. MCN traveled to Vladimir in May 2009 with two students.

The relationship with MCN and Vladimir Medical College continues strong. MCN sends up to six students with a faculty member each May for a two-week immersion into the healthcare system and culture of Vladimir. Vladimir Medical College sends up to six students with a faculty and translator each October to Mennonite College of Nursing for an equivalent experience to complete the exchange. MCN enjoys hosting this group every year to share with them our healthcare systems and partners, the nursing program at ISU and cultural experiences to include local activities as well as a visit to Chicago.

Student/Professor Exchange – School of Kinesiology and Recreation at ISU

The School of Kinesiology and Recreation at Illinois State University collaborates with the Institute of Physical Culture and Sports at Vladimir State University. This collaboration offers short-term student/professor study abroad exchanges.

Vladimir State University, named after Alexander and Nikolay Stoletovs, is comprised of 12 Institutes or Colleges. The Institute Physical Culture and Sports is very similar to the School of Kinesiology and Recreation at Illinois State University, with majors that include exercise physiology, physical education, recreation management, therapeutic recreation, and athletic training. While visitors from Vladimir State University are at Illinois State University they visit classes in the School of Kinesiology and Recreation, share current trends and practices in our professions, and visit local facilities where students complete internships and work following graduation. The visitors also experience cultural excursions.

The first group of ten Kinesiology and Recreation students along with Dr. Dave Thomas and Dr. Karen Dennis traveled to Vladimir in May 2015. While there, they also shared current trends and practices in our professions, visited local facilities where students complete internships and work following graduate, and enjoyed cultural excursions.

Open World

Through the Open World Leadership Center, the VCSCA has been host to exchange visitors from Vladimir with various specializations. In the past we've hosted young professionals in the field of health care, special education and library science. The Open World Leadership Center is a US Congressionally-funded organization working to increase U.S.-Eurasian understanding and partnerships. "The U.S. Congress established Open World in 1999 to enhance understanding and capabilities for cooperation between the United States and Russia. In 2003, Congress made all post-Soviet states eligible for the program and in 2005, any other country that is designated by the Board of Trustees. Open World promotes partnerships and continued communications between delegates and their American hosts and professional counterparts." More information is available on the Internet here.

Ad-hoc Trips

From time to time delegations from Bloomington-Normal have visited Vladimir and Canterbury. Participants are composed of members of the Vladimir/Canterbury Sister City Association and interested citizens of Bloomington-Normal. Delegates receive no funding from the Vladimir/Canterbury Sister City Association and travel at their own expense.

Hosting Opportunities

The VCSCA offers many hosting opportunities for people in the Bloomington/Normal area. These basically consist of two types. The first is short-term. Visiting Russian adults who come here in groups to assist in medical or educational visits: these could be professionals or college students. They are generally here from five to ten days. Hosts would be expected to provide these visitors with their own room as well as breakfast and other meals if they do not have other scheduled activities. Hosts may also be asked to provide some transportation.

The second opportunity is visiting high school students. The Vladimir Association Selection Committee carefully screens students for high academic capability and excellent English skills. These students are here for longer periods of time. The time could vary widely from three weeks in the summer to one or two semesters during the school year. The responsibilities of the host families would be much more involved. These would include providing room and board, transportation, treating as a member of the family and other activities. Visiting students’ families pay for airfare, personal expenses, plus a portion of the cost of their visa. The VCSCA pays for a portion of the cost of the visa and school and activity fees. Background checks are required and no remuneration is offered.

Films & Lectures

Each year, programs are offered fall and spring. These programs are interesting and diverse with speakers presenting topics related to our sister cities. Occasionally the VCSCA sponsors films and concerts. Many of these programs are open to the general public. For more information, please check our newsletters on the website.

Summer Picnic - 2014
25th Anniversary - Biaggi's
Karen Dennis, ISU, speaks at the 25th
Anniversary. Standing is Alexi Borzov,
Vladimir State Univ.
Founding member, Joe Grabill, left,
with visitor Olya Vladimirova

25th Anniversary - Biaggi's
Question or comment? Contact Board President David Q. Thomas.