Karaoke, straw-work and walking around the city: how foreign students learn Russian in Grodno (+ video)

The Japanese, Italians, Spaniards, the French: this August countries and peoples mixed in the walls of Kupala university. Many years foreign guests specially go to the Summer School of the Russian language. More than twenty young people came to Grodno from various countries to improve their Russian, and at the same time get acquainted with Belarus, a country that for many of them was a mystery for a long time.


The initiative to create the school originally came from Irina Kraskovskaya, its current coordinator. Telling the truth, the teacher herself admits that without the support of colleagues and Yuri Romanovsky, the dean of the faculty of pre-university training, wouldn’t have happened anything. But now the department of language training of Belarusian and foreign citizens can rightly be proud of another successfully implemented project for foreign students.

The program of the school will last for three weeks. During this time, students will attend a mandatory course of practical lessons for all, listen to lectures on the history and culture of Belarus, and choose for themselves a block of activities on interests - "Karaoke in Russian", "Business Russian" or "Belarusian language".

By the way, the "karaoke session" with the faculty member Tatyana Cherkes is a unique opportunity for foreigners to improve Russian pronunciation.


-The goal of our school is not just to give foreign students new knowledge, explains Irina Kraskovskaya. We want the guys from other countries to plunge into the Belarusian culture and history. We organize a very rich entertainment and excursion program to do this. We have planned a master class on straw work, culinary skills, visiting the Kolozhskaya church, the museum of minerals, the Grodno TV and radio company and many other objects.


How students get to the Grodno State University of Yanka Kupala is also history. Young foreign "polyglots" learn about the existence of the school from different sources. Rafael Beck, for example, came from France at the insistence of a friend who had already been in the school. At home, the guy is preparing to become a lawyer, studying international law, political science and, of course, foreign languages, including Russian. Raphael already has quite a good knowledge of it, nevertheless, he does not see the limit to perfection.

- I did not know your country at all. Belarus for me to this day was something mysterious, shares Rafael his impressions. I want to say that Belarusians are very kind and sympathetic people. My bus arrived in Grodno before the due time, I got out of it and realized that I'm all alone and do not know where to go, I felt very confused. But it quickly passed, because people smiled at me, willingly talked with me, were interested in who I was and why I came. In the West, everyone is a little bit different, more reserved and serious, immersed in themselves.


The young Frenchman does not sing in karaoke. The guy chose for himself, a course of business Russian, because it is useful for his future career, and the history of Belarus, because it is interesting. By the way, with Rafael, Belarus would like not only to maintain friendly relations, but also to acquire professional ties.

The cordiality of Belarusians is repeated in chorus by Italian girlfriends Deborah Kyanese, Katerina Barilla and Valeria Luminasa. They study foreign languages at the University of Bologna and just like Rafael, they are sure that the Russian, along with English, will open their way to a promising future. The teacher advised the girls to visit Belarus, told about other students who once studied here and achieved good results.


- Your country won us. It is very beautiful, lots of greenery and parks, a curious architecture. And also I like your wide streets. We have a few of such, says Katerina. As for the Russian, very few people in Italy study Slavic languages. Therefore, this is a good chance to get a job in high-paying jobs. But to have a good command of foreign, you need to communicate with native speakers a lot. This is why we came here first.


The students of the school communicate not only with the teachers. The University attracted volunteer students who spend a lot of their free time with foreign students.


Natalia Milevich is one of them. The girl has been studying English, Spanish and Polish by herself since childhood, she loves to travel (she visited seven countries only this summer), and therefore the opportunity to work with foreign comrades is for her just a joy:- I help the guys to better know our culture, our mentality. We often meet outside audiences, walk a lot. Someone knows the language well enough, but someone is talking on it not very good. We explain in English, but then we repeat the same in Russian. For to be remembered. And not just a phrase. But our city.


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