By LINDSEY BEVER
“The students were so bright, so hungry, so enthusiastic,” she said. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me.” This summer, a handful of Yakutsk students, chaperoned by Marina Protopopova, senior teacher of English in Russia of Yakutsk State University, are spending their first summer in America, developing their language skills, said Tresa Wilson, ESOL summer school director at Hockaday. “It’s a great opportunity to improve their English skills, to get knowledge about the culture,” Protopopova said. “It’s a first experience for me to take students from Yakutsk to another foreign country, and for most girls, a first experience to go to a foreign country.” However, learning isn’t easy. “It’s really hard to talk with other people,” said Masha Byuraeva, 14. “I can’t understand things, but really interesting to learn things.”Dasha said the language skills are something they can take home. “I think when we all come back to Yakutsk, we will be much more patient and tolerant of people of other origins because now we communicate with Chinese, Mexicans,” she said. “Sometimes we do not understand their speech because they have a very strong accent, but we, too.” Wilson said the program is about a global exchange of ideas that will help the students improve their understanding of the rest of the world. That’s exactly what Luda Grigoryeva, 13, wants to take home after the program ends July 17. “It’s hard here. It is America,” Luda said. “Times in Russia, I wish about America because I think it’s really cool country. When I came here I feel, ‘Oh, America!’ It’s country where you can improve yourself.” Submitted photos by JEANETTE KHAN
Danielle Dupuis, a summer English for Speakers of Other Languages teacher at The Hockaday School, instructs international students from China and Yakutsk. The students will continue their studies at Hockaday until summer school ends July 17.
Yakutsk, founded in 1632, is widely regarded as the “coldest city on Earth.” This time of the year, it is in the mid-’70s with a forecast of 91 F on Monday. Yakutsk students visiting Hockaday were asked to list what makes their city so special. Temperatures range from -50 C (-58 F) in January to 30 C (86F) in July. Yakutsk is the capital of the Sakha Republic. The city is characterized by mountains, river streams and icy temperatures. The city is located on the Lena River in northeastern Russia, about 450 kilometers south of the Arctic Circle. The entire republic has permafrost underneath that has never melted. The population is more than 210,000. Languages spoken are Russian and Sakha (Yukutskian) SOURCE: Yakutsk students
From Park Cities