Ukrainian as foreign language: interestingly, cheerfully, efficiently!

Author : Daria Prokaza Oleh Schmidt

Source : 112 Ukraine

Ukrainian Language and Culture School students share their experience of studying Ukrainian
15:25, 30 July 2016

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Australia, Canada, USA, Brazil… People from all over the world flock to Lviv to learn Ukrainian language. Mainly, these students have Ukrainian origin, but also there are political scientists, diplomats, priests, and graduate students from the foreign universities, who need Ukrainian in their professional activities.

Ukrainian Language and Culture School in Lviv has been working for 14 years. Courses and lectures in Ukrainian Language and Culture School meet the ALTE (Association of Language Testers in Europe) requirements and have communicative orientation. School director Nazar Danylko said that in 2002, they had only 10 students, and in 2016, more than fifty students came for the summer semester. 

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"Around 60% of students belong to different generations of Ukrainian diaspora. Numerous motivated graduate students, who write researches about Ukraine, its political situation and history come to our school," says Nazar.

The leaders of the school also add that sometimes the whole families come to study. For example, last year three generations of one Australian family, who are now going to come to Ukraine as volunteers, have attended the courses. Those who wants to find love in Ukraine or declare their love to their loved ones, who have Ukrainian origin, also come to Ukrainian Language and Culture School.

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My wife is from Halychyna, and I learn Ukrainian because I want to know what my mother-in-law is saying, explains Mario from Switzerland. - Ukrainian language is very difficult, especially for Europeans. Knowledge of French or German does not help you at all. You have to learn everything from scratch in order to speak this language."

The school proposes learning Ukrainian on different levels. There are groups in which students are taught the alphabet, and there are courses where the students can easily speak on Ukraine’s history and culture.

"Methods of teaching are almost identical for at all levels, - says professor and academic director school Marian Buriak. - This is the communicative approach; we focus not only on grammar, ability to read and write, but also on talking that helps to live and communicate. Games and entertainment create sociable atmosphere and give positive emotions. This facilitates the learning process of this ‘incredibly difficult’ language."

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In addition to the classroom tutorials, the program provides tours, lectures on Ukrainian history and various workshops: embroidery, traditional fabric dolls Motanky, and cooking varenyky (dumplings).

"The members of my family are not Ukrainians, - says Martin, Ukrainian priest from the US, - so it would be interesting for them to do something like varenyky. They would be impressed that now I can cook everything."

The courses last from 3 to 6 weeks. School director Nazar Danylko notes that if a person is highly motivated, she can learn Ukrainian in some 1.5 month.

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