U.S. and Russian High Schoolers Unite to Bridge Cultures and Build Lasting Friendships at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia

Published July 18, 2018

Ethan Miller and three friends from Fort Mill High School (Fort Mill, South Carolina) visited Moscow in June 2018 as part of Eurasia Foundation’s collaborative media exchange program. The trip took place during one of the world’s most-watched sporting events, the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

When the time came to recruit teams for the third season of the Youth TV Bridge, EF knew the students would have an important mission ahead of them: to show the world that U.S. and Russian youth can work together and–more importantly–develop strong bonds for lifelong friendships. But when the four students from South Carolina met their four counterparts from Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, it was clear that despite their common goal to produce collaborative content, U.S. and Russian students were on a mission to get to know each other. “Just as the World Cup unites through sports,” says Ethan, “this experience connects teens through the language of story-telling.” Working together in Moscow was an eye-opening experience for all the participants. “It truly showed how just one similarity can unite people, whether it’s millions of fans from around the globe or eight high schoolers with a passion for broadcast,” Ethan said.

Ethan Miller’s recap of the Youth TV Bridge in Moscow.

The trip marked the beginning of Season Three of the Youth TV Bridge, Eurasia Foundation’s Social Expertise Exchange program that connects talented young people from the U.S. and Russia. Teams practice video production while also exploring and commenting on today’s social issues. Under the guidance of their faculty advisors, students collaborate across continents to produce news-style broadcasts on topics ranging from school sports, to social inclusion, and the environment.

Eurasia Foundation’s Social Expertise Exchange has supported youth media exchange programs since 2015. These programs provide media students with an opportunity to develop video production skills and leadership experience while jointly creating inspiring stories and fostering international cooperation.