PetrSU Student on Being the Russian Language Ambassador to the World
At the end of the last year, Aleksandr Martynov, student of the Institute of History, Political and Social Sciences, became one of the two representatives of Petrozavodsk State University to take part in the international volunteer program Russian Language Ambassador to the World.
The program was initiated by the Pushkin State Russian Language Institute.
The Russian Language Ambassadors use game technologies and interactive exercises to introduce foreign schoolchildren and students to the Russian language, culture, and literature while cultivating a positive image of Russian students and facilitating the development of the dialogue between cultures.
Aleksandr Martynov has been on an expedition to Uzbekistan.
- Aleksandr, how have you become a participant of the program the Russian Language Ambassadors to the World?
- First of all, I have decided to take part in the program as I wanted to gain teaching experience, secondly, I wished to challenge myself, and thirdly, I looked forward to visiting a new country. Before the expedition, I have had time to speak to experienced ambassadors and they had warned me that it would be difficult, yet this has not swayed my decision to become a Russian Language Ambassador.
- What did you feel when you learned you had been selected for the program, although hundreds of people had auditioned for the chance?
- Honestly, many people have doubted that I would be selected, even my parents. “There are hundreds like you all over Russia”, they said. Yet, based on my experience I recommend not to give up and pursue your goal without hesitation. So once I’ve heard my name among the future ambassadors both my parents and I were happy.
- Where have you taught and who have been your students?
- I was lucky to teach at Fergana State University and the Terra nova private school. I can say one thing: it was indeed challenging due to no teaching experience, yet I tried to make up for this with charisma and dedication to my task. The time I have spent with students and schoolchildren was an invaluable personal and teaching experience.
- What have you taught the students and what have you learned yourself?
- Together with my partners, Irina Isaeva from Moscow and Irina Nikitina from Izhevsk, we held various interactive games, quizzes, showed movies and cartoons. For instance, we watched the Flying Ship that is good for studying idioms and Russian fairy-tale characters. Moreover, we held a workshop on making a New Year toy, after which the students had to tell a story about it in the Russian language. In this way, we integrated the students into Russian culture, literature, and traditions.
While teaching others I myself learned about the culture and traditions of Uzbekistan. For example, I now know how to eat pilaf and flatbread. Before serving pilaf, Uzbeks offer their famous spicy soup (in English we would call it an appetizer). In the Uzbek language, it is called kalampir shurva, literally a “soup with pepper”. I have also first tried pilaf that is eaten sprinkled with pomegranate seeds and taken with green radish. After the meal, it is recommended to eat a piece of flatbread for digestion.
- What was the most memorable experience for you?
- I can run on for hours about my experiences, but the most memorable was the hospitality of the local people.
- Would you like to continue being part of the program?
- I plan to carry on making the world fall in love with Russian literature, culture, and traditions.