The Russian Language is My Weapon
Mane Manutsyan, the 4th year student of the Institute of Philology of PetrSU, assistant organizer of the SLOVO International Agency of PetrSU, winner of the Russian award Student of the Year – 2019, one of the organizers of the Festival of Nations of PetrSU, gave an interview to the university press.
- You have a very beautiful and unusual name. Tell us more about it.
- My name is of Armenian origin. Believe it or not, to me its meaning is still an unsolved cultural mystery. I only know it was a name of an Armenian goddess, not sure which one though.
- On what program do you study? Why have you chosen it?
- I study Foreign Philology (English Language and Literature, German Language). My priorities in education have changed, yet I’ve always believed I should work with people. I felt that this is a gift a person either has or has not. My diary for 2015 reads: “As a journalist, you by default become an intrinsic part of the global mechanism, which puts a certain responsibility as you become a worker of the world”. Now my priorities are public and volunteer work. Also language. Russian, English. Language itself. And people with whom I converse thanks to my knowledge of languages.
- How has the SLOVO become part of your life?
- I’ve been studying for the 2nd year and accidentally watched a video invitation for selection round. The international students of PetrSU shared their favorite words in Russian while smiling shyly or showing off their knowledge. Even back then I realized I would regret if I’d miss this opportunity. Looking back I can surely and proudly say that I cannot imagine my student years without the linguistic volunteer movement of PetrSU.
- What are your tasks at the international agency of PetrSU?
- Previously I’ve been a volunteer, starting from this year I am an assistant organizer. This year I helped with the organization of the International Volunteer School 2.0 implemented with the support of the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs, and the Festival of Nations. Moreover, I always implement my traditional projects: Language Café and International Speed-Friending.
- What did you feel when the SLOVO had been recognized as the best volunteer movement in Russia in 2019?
- This was living up to expectations, confirmation of what we have visualized. We knew what we wanted and how to get there; we could almost touch and feel it. We have secured the victory in the national award Student of the Year – 2019. I think it is due to our conviction and dedication to our work.
- Are foreigners interested in the Russian language?
- Yes, regardless of nationality and age. Sometimes students explicitly ask us not to speak English with them. Seeing the love foreigners have for Russian, I now wish to be a teacher of Russian as a foreign language.
- Each teacher chooses their own approach to a student. What is peculiar about the approach adopted at the SLOVO?
- At the Agency we are not teachers. But we definitely have our own approach. We love everyone very much. We create a home-like atmosphere for students from around the world. We have no right to change the students, we create a second home for them where they are wholly accepted and loved.
- How do you see yourself in the future? Why?
- While working with international students I now seriously consider Russian as a Foreign Language and Intercultural Communication as Master's Degree programs for me. I gain knowledge to share, help and inspire. If you serve only yourself the lifespan of your goal will not exceed your own, if you contribute to society it can last for eternity.
- Why do you love the Russian language so much that you wish to teach it to other students?
- I am bilingual. And I always say that I have two motherlands. The first is the sunny Armenia that has given life and family. I was born there; it is my family, relatives, streets of my grandfathers and grandmothers. I can say that all this shows in my proficiency in the Armenian language as my vocabulary is limited to everyday life. It is the language of love, family hearth, and grandmother’s stories. The second is Russia that has given me knowledge and opportunities. The Russian language is my main weapon. This is the language in which I’ve studied. It is the language of books, documentaries, successful communications, self-assurance. To teach the Russian language means to pass on this experience. I want students to find their new identity and speak one of the most important languages in the world confidently.
- In which country would you like to teach the Russian language?
- This is a complicated question. Yet, Armenia is the first to come to my mind.
- Please share your plans for the future. What would you like to achieve, study, do?
- In the nearest future, I plan to graduate and decide on my Master's Degree. I wish to study the migration laws of the Russian Federation. Though I work with international students who come with a study visa I still need to know all this.
- PetrSU held the Festival of Nations. Please, tell us more about this event.
The Festival of Nations is the main international event for us. Students from more than 10 countries presented their culture in the Assembly Hall. I just can’t believe that we did it! I am very happy. This year we created our hymn. We have changed a little bit Basta’s song Sansara and tearfully sang: “When I feel low I will sing with the voices of my friends and the voices of their friends. Our hearts are linked as one. Our dreams merge here. Circulation of ideas. Oh, SLOVO!”