The content and opinions expressed in this blog are mine. They do not represent the US Government or US Peace Corps - Jud Dolphin

Thursday, April 9

First Speech in RUSSIAN

Okay, maybe the pronunciation was slow and maybe I stumbled on a word or two....But after 5 days of language study, I made my first public speech.

I am truly amazed by the investment that the Peace Corps is placing in our language competencies. We are divided between two languages – Ukrainian and Russian. Here in Ukraine, about a third of the people speak Ukrainian and a third Russian and the final third both. The Russian influence comes not only from the Soviet period, but from centuries of close and sometimes contentious relationships.

The Peace Corps blieves in building relationships in Ukraine. Language becomes essential. Here not so many know english though it is a growing number among the young. Still for Americans to learn the language is important to the Peace Corps mission and our standing in the community.

My language group consists of five trainees and one native Ukrainian teacher. She is amazing in all the various ways that she presents the lessons. Definitely never boring and often a lot of fun. I knew absolutely no Russian before Peace Corps. The prospect of trying to learn actually gave me a chill – the kind you get when you know you are in a situation that you may not be able to handle...brrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Like I imagine bungy jumping!!

But then I remembered my niece, Jennifer's advice. She has traveled the world as a student and with her career army husband and family. Her language skills are strong. She said, “Try not to figure it all out. Try not to get every detail. Just listen and keep open to the flow. It will come.”

Her advice and the excellent teaching and yes, my effort made it possible to make the small speech. I got to introduce myself to the Deputy Mayor and the Department Head for Tourism of our City, Chernigov. It was a 7 sentence speech and I was very proud of myself.
I now have a growing hope that Russian language will come. What a huge change from those month of anticipation. I get up every morning saying to my brain..."get open to that flow!"

My friends, the Hellers, say that I am in my honeymoon period. I say FANTASTIC!!

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