The Braver Grant
Encouraging Curiosity, Goals, and Language Acquisition
|In Memory of
~ Charles Braver ~
The Braver Grant encourages students to live active, culturally-conscious lives while studying abroad. The grant awards students with a stipend to participate in creating new materials for Students Abroad or ArtInRussia.org. These sites serve as a platform for students to share their experiences and, in doing so, help other students to more actively explore their surroundings and submerse themselves in local culture while abroad.
The Grant: Students will receive stipends to help cover any costs of eating out, attending cultural events, art exhibitions, and/or seeking out interesting local experiences (including language clubs, hobby clubs, teaching or volunteering opportunities, etc.). Students must write about their experiences (usually .5 - 1 page) and publish the writing on Students Abroad or ArtInRussia.org. A minimum of 4 entries must be completed and a maximum of 15 entries may be made for any given session (summer, fall, or spring). Each eligible entry is awarded a $30 stipend, with an additional $50 paid upon publication of the 15th entry. Thus, $500 may be awarded for 15 entries during any one session to any one student. The stipend is payable on a monthly basis upon publication of the related material.
Eligibility: Any student applying for or participating in a standard SRAS study abroad program may apply for this grant.
Describe, in at least one paragraph, why you want to study a foreign language and why gaining knowledge of that language will be important to your professional, personal, or academic plans.
- Write a review of your favorite local interest group, church, museum, historical attraction, or public place to stroll or spend time. Make sure to mention, wherever applicable: price, service, ambiance, food, and any cultural aspects of the experience. Bonus points if this is somewhere where you can learn about your locality or meet locals. This review should be .5 - 1 pages long.
Upload the two pieces of writing (from steps two and three above), your resume, and one research paper 7 to 35 pages long from a college-level class to the Application Materials section of your login page.
DEADLINES are listed on our
funding cycles page
- Who Was Charles Braver? -
This grant is dedicated in memory of Charles Braver, an educator who worked for many years to promote and practice cross-cultural teaching, learning, and geographical and intellectual exploration.
Charles Braver first studied with SRAS in 2000 on a summer language program at Moscow State University. He returned again in 2003, 2004, and 2005. Seemingly, Charles could not get enough of Russia – and especially the people he befriended there. He took full advantage of every day – heading out to explore as soon as classes ended. The height of his exploration of Russia was in 2005 when he undertook the great "Trans-Siberian adventure." Little did we at SRAS know that there was a reason our active and happy Charles was so focused on making the most of each day. Charles passed away in November 2006 after a long and fierce battle against melanoma. Those of us who had the privilege of interacting with Charles will always remember him as a wonderful person whose learning and passion ended too soon.
When not in Russia, Charles was a master teacher for nine years in the CUNY Language Immersion Program (CLIP) at the New York City College of Technology. A brilliant educator, Charles was dedicated to teaching and learning. He created an amazing body of project-based courses in diverse content areas such as world and local history, civics, journalism, literature and cultural studies, and national and world geography, among others. Charles brought out the very best in his students through his exceptional communication skills, knowledge of the world and of linguistics, dedication to the highest standards, technological know-how, life experience, creativity, generosity, caring, humor, humility, and more. He was a consummate educator who knew the art and science of teaching, and did it all with élan.
If the world had more students with Charles' curiosity, more educators with Charles' energy and wide knowledge base, and more diplomats with Charles' tact, charisma, and open understanding, the world would be a far, far better place. This grant hopes to help provide the world with more people like Charles.
- What Friends Say about Charles -
"Charles and I met at Moscow State University in 2000. We were both studying Russian at the university. He was living on campus for the experience, before moving in with a host family. Charles was like that, he always wanted to test and savor the experience. We ended up spending a lot of time together getting to know each [other] and Moscow. We explored Gorky Park, Tretyakov museum, the Pushkin, and discovered a small Georgian restaurant tucked away near the Park Kultury metro stop that was to become our favorite. We bartered at Izmailovsky, sat on the Kremlin steps watching the honor guards of the 'Great Patriotic War' change on the hour. We always agreed to meet on certain platforms- "you get in the last car, I'll be in the first car-we'll meet at Beloruskaya-a practice that continued though our friendship once we returned home. We spent a lot of time eating pelmeni and vareniki in Brighton Beach, buying Russian music, books and newspapers, trying to barter and squeezing through the babushki at the international Russian food market. Charles was great with people. He would walk up to anyone on the street and start asking questions in a manner that would invite not only an answer, but quite possibly an invitation to dinner. I admired that in him-his love for people, their lives and his love for knowledge. He cared for people, reached out to them and they returned his affection."
- Rusty Brockman, fellow SRAS student
"In summer of 2005 I had the great pleasure to travel with Charles across Russia on the Trans Siberian Railroad.
"Although the disease that would ultimately take his life had already made itself known, it was remarkable how Charles dealt with it. Other than having to make certain that we had access to a refrigerator so he could keep his interferon fresh and an occasional afternoon nap (to which I never objected) you would not have known that anything was amiss. His enthusiasm and excitement never waned.
"Of all the qualities Charles possessed, the one that most touched me was his passion. His passion for languages, for new cultures, for people, for his students and for his family was always evident.
"Charles loved interacting with people and people loved interacting with him. This was not only true here at home but also in the middle of Siberia. When our train stopped for 10 minutes or so in some little town in the middle of nowhere Charles would disembark not only to buy fruit and cheese for the remainder of the trip but to talk to the women and men selling the food. For Charles needed not only the nourishment the food would provide but the nourishment he received in his conversations with and questioning of the ladies who baked the bread and the men who harvested the fruit. And when he made contact with them -in that moment- I believe they got the inkling that this lanky American who spoke excellent Russian was a very special person. A very special person and a very special friend."
- Ted Bajo, Personal Friend
"I first met Charles at Lomonosov Moscow State University while I was working there for the International Students' Office. Since then we became friends sharing our ideas on a great variety of subjects including the one-dimension-ness of some people and the main features of the "Russian soul," which very few foreigners can identify. Charles was the one who could! He loved Russia and its people, spent much time learning and traveling there, and always wanted to meet new people to learn more.
"Charles' attitude towards life in general and Russia in particular struck me the most when he decided to take the Trans-Siberian railroad journey after being diagnosed with cancer. Very few people, I believe, would not give up in a situation like this. I must admit that he set an example for me."
- Natalia Rostova, SRAS Consultant