International Online Communication of Students
For over a month the students of the IFL of PetrSU and the students of the College of St. Scholastica (USA, Minnesota, Duluth) have been holding weekly online meetings via Zoom.
The idea of online meetings came up over the first week of enforced self-isolation, which had interrupted the study process both in Russia and the USA due to the coronavirus outbreak. The idea behind the meetings is to learn the culture of the countries, discuss current issues, meet and make friends with new people, as well as converse in the English language.
At the online conferences, the participants engage in group and common discussions, debates regarding survival in the pandemic, discussions of issues of the educational systems, politics, relations, etc.
All meetings are held in an informal setting and everyone is encouraged to share their thoughts and concerns.
Karen Rosenflanz, Associate Professor of Global, Cultural and Language Studies: Russian and German at the College of St. Scholastica, shared her opinion on the meetings:
“As this semester the studying has switched to distance education, teachers prepare assignments and check them, while students do their homework online. Nevertheless, this semester has a silver lining as it brings the anticipation of meeting friends. Thanks to the enthusiasm and efforts of Polina Vlasova and other students of the IFL of PetrSU in Petrozavodsk, American students who study the Russian language and the IFL students hold weekly online discussions via Zoom. We are always looking forward to these meetings and then discuss what we have learned.
Thanks to the thorough preparation on the part of the Russian students, American students learned many intriguing aspects of living in Russia and Russian realities.
The fact that American students felt at ease communicating with Russian students and noted that they felt as if talking to neighbors speaks for the proficiency of the IFL students in the English language.
We Americans are immensely grateful to the Russian students for the ability to converse and for their wish to dedicate their time and efforts to this project. It is great that we have the opportunity to see each other and talk to new and old friends. All the same, it would be better to meet in person sometime. I heartily thank and send best wishes from Karen Rosenflanz and the students of the Russian language program.”
Feedback from the IFL students
Sophia Kislova (group 151 of the English Language and German Language program):
“It is a comfort to know that the cooperation between the IFL and CSS is growing out of the now familiar summer language camps. The direct and open dialogue between students provides an opportunity to take a fresh look at issues and controversies existing in various areas of social and political lives in our countries. I was happy to see and talk to friends, whom I met during the academic exchange in spring 2019. I am happy that American students take so much interest in the Russian language and culture.”
Aleksandra Shleeva (group 131 of the English Language and German Language program):
“I have joined my familiar nightly group four times. For us, it is evening, for them, it is morning, different outlook and mentality. Yet, it turned out we all speak German (alongside English)! We have told each other about ourselves and now I have a friend in America who watches the same TV-series.”
Roman Kozhevnikov (group 151 of the English Language and German Language program):
“We work in groups of 6-7 people, in which every participant can share his or her opinion in an informal setting. The class ended with mini debates, during which everyone discovered something. I appreciate these classes for excellent English language, opportunity to learn something new about the culture of the country of the studied language from native speakers, and of course the emotions we experience!”
Alina Kharlacheva (group 111 of the English Language and German Language program):
“I enjoyed communicating with Americans and learning something new and sharing my experience. Communication with fellow students was informal, fun, and engaging. To my surprise I didn’t have difficulties comprehending the foreign speech, the students were always eager to explain and repeat if I did not understand anything. I would love to speak to them again, this experience has been truly rewarding for me!”
Polina Kildyushkina (group 151 of the English Language and German Language program):
“Thank you for arranging the online meetings. It is an amazing opportunity to practice the language with native speakers. It is always great to share opinions and impressions with new people and discuss topics of interest.”
This year we celebrate 30 years of the first Language and Culture Camp organized by the Department of the English Language of the Institute of Foreign Languages of PetrSU. Unfortunately, the visit to Duluth planned for this summer had to be postponed due to the pandemic. We hope that it will take place in fall and thank all the participants of the online meetings for the exchange of opinions and dialogue of cultures. A special thank you goes to Polina Vlasova (group 151 of the English Language and German Language program) for the initiative!