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October 04, 1959 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1959-10-04
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Learning, Studying, Relaxing-

A Russian Student's


A STUDENT at Moscow Univer-
sity is quite likely to take it
easy on Sunday, talking or perhaps
studying in his two-person dormi-
tory suite, according to Roger An-
derson, '61, who just got back from
three months in Russia and three
satellite countries. Or a student
may go to a soccer game, walk in
the park or see an opera.
If he studies in his suite he will

have though but no extra room.7 A
typical suite at Moscow has a small
lavatory, a hall with closet space,'
and two single rooms for sleeping
ana studying. Each of these rooms
is almost filled by a bed on one
side and a desk at the end. Over
the bed are shelves and over the
desk are windows.
Down the hal is a small cooking
and ironing room. In each corridor

the cooking part contains a hot-
plate, a small refrigerator and a
sink. Students use them for snacks,
or, if they're in a hurry, for light
QUIET IS KEPT in the rooms
not by an advisor graduate-
student R.A. but by an older non-
student man called a corridor
monitor. Students didn't seem to

feel very close to him, but they
didn't seem much afraid of him ei-
ther, said Anderson, who visited
the university.
The dorms are coed: boys' rooms
and girls' rooms are scattered atI
random. This seems normal to
them. "Why aren't your dorms
coed?" one student asked Ander-
son. Then the student grinned, and,
needed no answer,
Tuition is free, and a dorm room
costs a dollar a month. Eighty per,
cent of the approximately 24,000
students in Moscow University get,
a stipend from the government.
Stipends run from $23 to $50, de-
pending roughly on one's grades.
Three meals a day cost about a
dollar in the student cafeteria.
A student's life is inexpensive;,
he also receives many benefits aft-
er graduation. It is rare for a stu-
dent to be drafted. Instead, he
works where the government as-
signs him for three= years. After
that he can usually work where he
wants, unless the government re-
assigns him to a specific place. He
starts out with a good job-pos-
sibly head of a department or a'
factory-with a salary far above
the average worker's that increases
as he moves up.
PHYSICS IS the best-paying field
of concentration. Students rush
to get into it because the number
of physics majors each year is set
by the government. The same thing
happens in other majors, but to a
lesser extent. Competition to enter
the universities is stiff, Anderson
says, and grades are the main cri-
terion for entrance.
Russia has no notion of a gen-
eral education like ours, he adds.
Student specialize heavily in their
subjects two years before going to
the university, and they continue
to be heavily specialized while
there. Students are encouraged to
go to concerts, ballets and plays,
Anderson says, but almost the only

thing they study outside their
specialty is history, economics and
similar subjects from the Commu-
nist point of vie-
Educationis expensive, and the,
government doesn't want to waste
its money. Through Komsomol -
the Communist youth league it
exerts' pressure on students to get
physical exercise and, more im-
portant, good grades. Komsomol
has a colnmittee in each univer-
sity to remind poor students that
they need good marks.
STUDENTS SEEM to be under
great pressure to join Komso-
mol, Anderson says. One girl he
met, -for example, said she was
under pressure to join it so as to
get her stipend. She' said she
joined, even though she had to
falsely swear she was a confirmed
There is "real evidence," he.
says, that stipends are much hard-
er for non-members to get, and
one is practically an outcast if he
doesn't join. Ninety or 95 per cent
of the students at Moscow belong.
Students work hard at the uni-
versity, Anderson says,' but most
of them don't extremely overwork
themselves. They are in class six
hours a day for six days a week,
and they study three or three and
a half hours a night during the
They study a little on Saturday,
but Saturday nights are generally
nights off. Students see movies,
ballets, or a Russian version of
Cinerama, or go for a walk. Every
Saturday night, in the larger uni-
versities, one of the faculties-for
example French, chemistry or
medicine--puts on a party for its
students. Typically there is a stu-
dent band. The most popular
dance songs are American ones,
especially those of Benny Good-
man, Glenn Miller and jazz art-
ists of the 44's. The administration,
limits them to every third song,
though, and frowns on rock 'n roll.
If the dance ends at midnight,
students often take their dates to
their apartments for a while. They
may listen to music on records or a
tape recorder, which they use
mostly for recreation if they can
afford to have one. At one o'clock
the monitor comes around and
they take their dates home. Then
to bed, to sleep late the next day.


Siary Sketch of a Motorcycle Trip
Down the Inter-American Highway

the Road South

(June 23, 1062 mi.) We crossed
the border here today and had our
first glimpse of Mexico. Border
towns have a┬░reputation for
bawdiness,. . . Nuevo Laredo is no
On the northern bank of the
Rio Grande we found Laredo,
U.S.A. resting place of the dying
young cowboy. On the southern
bank lies its.sister city Nuevo La-
redo ... the reason why the dying
young cowboy went south. Mac
described the squalor hidden be-
hind Nuevo Laredo's main street
of tourist attractions as "the pig-
sty of the world." Bob disagreed

suite now ir town. Alberto, proud
of the fact he can speak English,
is showing us'his cameras, radios,
expensive uniforms and Swedish
rifle .. . he also had an American
sports car but he was asked to
sell itas his commanding officer
only had a convertible. He ad-
mitted ie likes nice things . . .
buys all his clothes in Texas. He
gave up a career in engineering
for a motorcycle, boots and a dress
uniform . . . it doesn't look like he
regrets it.
27, 2630 mi.) The rainy season
is in full swing here now. Tourist

door), twenty or more assorted
people had joined in . .. you would
never find that in Miami.
(July 3, 2910 mi.) We never
thought it was possible ; . . but
Wil did it. After being injured in
Hope, Arkansas, he rode the long
hot stretch to Mexico City by
himself . . . despite his still-mend-
ing injuries.
Bob Mancell decided to tour
Mexico instead of going on to
Central America. But Dick Wiley,
a student from Antioch College,
took Bob's place . . . Wiley can-
celled his plans- for a tour of the
Yucatan peninsula and added his
motorcycle-to our group.
T]TJXLA,.MEXICO -= (July 10,
3689 mi.) We were invited by
a farmer to dinner last night. The
language barrier was quite a
problem , . . a mixture of Spanish
and Indian dialect . . . but we
managed to get along.
He showed us into his adobe
thatched roof home of three
rooms. A dim oil lamp provided
the only light in the main room
. the glow from a charcoal fire
the only light in the kitchen. The*
meal was simple . . . rice, beans,
tortillas and an added delicacy of
Ingenuity isn't lacking among
Mexicans. A used truck tire can
be converted into twenty pairs of
sandals by simply cutting it into
foot-long strips and adding leath-
er thongs . .. a six-foot square of
plastic can easily be transformed
into one of the best ponchos for
the summer rains.
About the onlysthing the Mexi-
can farmer is forced to buy is his
trusty machete . . . it costs him
approximately 25 pesos or two
American dollars and will last a
lifetime. It cuts the thatch for
his roof, kills his chickens, and
slaps his cow when he plows.
Poverty is predominant outside
the cities ... but friendliness isn't
lacking. We thanked the farmer
for the meal but he rejected any
payment. I think he was a bit
proud to have three Americans for

Church N

mountains here
Michigan. It'll
minutes then

isn't like tha
pour for tw
suddenly be


The Komsomol (Communit Youth League) pressures the students to get both good grades and physi-
cal exercise. It often forms physical culture clubs which compete with each other in sports like
gymnastics, boxing, volleyball and basketball.
presented by The University Musical Society
GLENN GOULD, Pianist ....x... . ... ........ ...Monday, October12
BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA . .... . ... ...Saturday, October 24
Charles Munch, Conductor
IRMGARD SEEFRIED, Soprano..................Thursday, October 29
RICHARD TUCKER, Tenor .:.;............. . .....Friday, November 6
' PAMPLONA CHOIR FROM SPAIN .........(2:30) Sunday, November 15
Luis Morondo, Conductor
JAN SMETERLIN, Pianist ...................Tuesday, November 24
Antal Dorati, Conductor
BACH ARIA GROUP . .................. .... ..Tuesday, February 16
William H. Scheide, Director
GIULIETTA SIMIONATO, Mezzo-soprano ...... (2:30) Sunday, March 13
CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA .......... ....Monday, April 4
Fritz Reiner, Conductor
SEASON TICKETS: $18.00'$15:00-$12.00--i0.00
SINGLE CONCERTS: $3.50 -$3.00 - $2.50=-$2.00-$1.50
BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA ......... (2:30) Sunday, October 25
Charles Munch, Conductor
DAVID OISTRAKH, Violinift .................. Tuesday, December 8
WITOLD MALCUZYNSKI, Pianist........ ... . .Friday, January 15
PITTSBURGH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA ........... .Monday, February 29
William Steinberg, Conductorl
LAMOUREUX ORCHESTRA (from Paris) .. ....... : .Thursday, March 24
Igor Markevitch, Conductor
SEASON TICKETS: $9.00 - $7.50 - $6.00- $5.00
SINGLE CONCERTS: $3.50 -$3.00-$2.50 -$2.00 -$1.50

Transportation in the Small Villages

We saw only two cars on
road today. One was a truck c
rying construction workers-to
border in the north, the other v
a heavily loaded Plymouth gC
south. The driver, was a dens
just graduated from a school
the United States on his way
see his family in Peru. He said
has had enough of the Int
American Highway and was he
ing west toward the Guatema'
port of San Jose ...plans to s
his car the rest'of the way.
We followed him up to 17
feet in the mountains and t
lost him on the way down. Hi
wayshin Central America ar
like those of the United States
white-washed rocks signal
edge of a curve and a line of ro
in the middle of the dirt r
warns of no passing. Road si
are few and far between if th
are any.
MALA- (July 14, 7040
We renewed an acquaintance w
a guitar player we had met
Acapulco. Jose lives with


Peter Dawson is contribut-
ing editor on The Daily and a
senior in the literary college.



Berlin Work Camp

(Continued from Preceding Page)
This was the romantic side of
life iri Berlin, but there were oth-
er aspects. As we worked, or ate,
or wrote letters in the eveningsa
we would drift into conversation
and so learn something. of the
people we.represented.
ONCE IBRAHIM spoke on the
Arab-Israeli problem with quiet
intensity: "I lost my house and
my lands," he said, "The place
my fathers had lived for cen-
turies: they were given to the
Jews and I had to leave. But I'll
get back." "But, Ibrahim," some-
one answered, "What about the
people who live there now? It's
their land now."
"They can go. back where they
came from," Ibe said. "They don't
want to stay, anyway; they're
leaving by the thousands now. It's
my land, not theirs, and they can
go back where they came from."
Once Parvathi caused an up-
roar by defending the system of
arranged marriages in India. "In
the West love ends in marriage,"
she said, "In. India, love begins
with marriage." Later Devendra,
another Indian, told us that that
was old-fashioned, that arranged
marriages were going out now.
That started a heated, argument.
Several times we went over to
the East sector, twice to speak to
the young Communists at Hum-
bolt University. "We want peace,
we want peace," they reiterated
again and again, "but democracy
must eventually succumb to Com-
munism." Compared to the West
sector East Berlin was a shambles:

Tor stood the Hansa Quarter with
its newly built apartments, on the
other Unter' den Linden lay in
ruins, the scattered bricks still ap-
parently untouched.
"YOU JUST haven't seen the
right parts of East- Berlin,"
-the young Communists said. "And
besides," they added, "the West
had so much aid from the cap-
italist countries. We had none of
that aid and we had to build up
our resources and our industry
first." But on only one point did
the East come out better than the
West; the question of German re-
unification. "We want to :talk to
the West German government,"
they told us, "but those people
will not come." In the West we
were told that to talk to the East
German government would be to
recognize it as a separate govern-
"ment which West Germany was
not willing to do. This may be a
fine ideal, but it certainly seems
to me to be an impractical one.
Most of what we did was spon-
taneous. On a sudden impulse one
rainy night we walked through
the Brandenburger.Tor to the si-
lent streets of East Berlin. The
gate loomed high in the darkness
and the ruins on the other side
seemed a ghost town, mysterious
and sinister. To Germans- that
gate has a special meaning; it
stands for "Union Now." We also
think of it as a symbol. To us it
means not only that night of
quiet rain, or the divided island of-
proud and friendly citizens. It
means the work and the warmth
of many cultures, many people.
and more besides which I can only

Poverty Predominant Outside the City

guests .. by the time we had
finished dinner a crowd of about
fifty had gathered around our
motorcycles and weresilently
MALA -- (July 12, 6840 mi.)
We just crossed the gap in the
Inter-American highway between
the Mexican border and here
which the American Automobile
Club has labeled as "impassable."
We were lucky ... only two days
before, a mountain slide had closed
the road to all traffic. But we
managed to bypass it with our
motorcycles and we only had to
contend with about five washed
out bridges.
Rainy season is in full swing
now . . . we have to stop every
afternoon about three to wait out
the worst of it. A rain in the

grandfather in the center of
city, drives a Corvette and
gone to school in the Un'
States. HissEnglish is almosti
feet and he likes hamburgers
French fries. He's proud of be
"Americanized." He even asket
to send him a Michigan lice
plate for his car so he could
ceive the police who are usu
lenient with tourists.
But at the same time he is pi
of his country and will take pi
to see that we have tasted all
native drinks and seen the
market place. His grandfather
emplifies the higher class
Guatemala's two-class soci
Several farms in the south as
as interests in various ban
plantations assure his grand
the same position.
DOR - (July 19, 7270 mi.)

-. . I remained neutral. It's too'
bad many tourists never see much
more of Mexico.
25, 1985 mi.) We came out of the
mountains tonight only to be
stopped by the Mexican equivalent
of our national guard represented
by Alberto. It seems he only want-
ed to talk about motorcycles be-
cause he rode one himself. But
the conversation was interrupted
every now and then. Alberto would
go out to inspect the passing
trucks piled high with everything.
from used' tires to beer, shake
right hands with the driver,
transfer something to his left
hand 'pants pocket and with a
smile wave the trucks on. It seems
he was supposed to check trucks
for overloading.
We're sitting here in his hotel
Barton Huthwaite, Daily
feature editor, went by mo-
torcycle through Mexico and
Central America this past
summer, accompanied by Wil-
bert Porter, Robert Mancell
and Richard McElroy. Their
goal was to reach South Amer-
ica by motorcycle.

traps have never appealed to me
but Acapulco can't be com-
pared to its American counterpart
of Miami. The commercialism is
still predominant here .. . but it's
not the large-scale business prop-
osition of the United States. If.
you want to go deep-sea fishing,
you nab a beach boy (if he doesn't
nab *you first) and let him make
the arrangements . . . he's sure
"to know just the right boat
at the right price.
We had a real taste of Mexican
music this -evening . . . quite dif-
ferent from the night club va-
riety. Mac began strumming on
his guitar as we sat in an empty
beach restaurant waiting for the
rains to let up. Pretty soon a wait-
er joined in . . . then another
waiter with his guitar. A student
from Guatemala already had my
bongos .. only to be joined a few
minutes later by an opera star
from Chile . . . then a beach boy
dropped by and began singing. In
a matter of only a few minutes,
two American guys struggling
with a guitar and bongos had be-
gun an impromptu Mexican folk
By the time it ended three
hours later (we were taking busi-


.. f" _r

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