For two months now we have been separated by 2700 km, but we still remember, with all warmth in our hearts, those three unforgettable weeks in Chernivtsi, which we have spent inside the magnificent Ukrainian Hogwarts, Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University. Moreover, they were able to feel the Ukrainian lifestyle, with all this experience with local marshrutkas, hospitable Cossack sites, babushkas, traditional «Midsommar festival» and intense cultural program, rushing through museums, Khotyn and Kamenetz-Podilsky castles and marvelous Lviv. Ukrainians, in turn, after 14 days were singing together Norwegian songs of Alexander Rybak and enthusiastically listened to the stories of this amazing inaccessible northern country. People said, that it is very complicate to find common ground with the Norwegians, because of their cold character, but if you pick up the code to their hearts, it will be a lifetime friendship. Ukrainian sincere character and the delicious Borshch – are hard-to-resist things, even for cold Vikings! So we believe, this friendship between our peoples definitely will initiate closer cooperation at the national level.
We collected short stories from our students about their further experience related to language or traditions of Ukraine and Norway. Was it useful to study these languages?
“First of all, I went on a week of holiday in Lviv and Kyiv after the school, and of course I used the language I had learnt during the Ukrainian sessions in Chernivtsi. Secondly, In London (where I’m living now) there are many Ukrainians. It is therefore very cool to use Ukrainian during a conversation with them. For them, I suppose, it’s bit of a shock when I, as a Norwegian, know some phrases of their mother tongue. The history and culture, nevertheless, we were taught in the school, is also advantageous. It’s always funny to convey a fun fact about Ukraine sometimes! Actually, when I left Norway for the UK I had the Ukrainian evening with family and friends. I made, together with mum and dad, delicious Borshch, Varenyky and Russian salad – with inspiration from the fantastic meals we were served in Chernivtsi University! So to summarize it up: the knowledge about Ukrainian, Its history and culture has definitely profited me – whether I’m in Chernivtsi, Lviv, Kyiv, Oslo or London!”
“After returning home to the USA from the Ukrainian-Scadinavian Summer School, I was worried that I wouldn’t have the chance to use the Ukrainian language level I had learned. However, what is interesting is that, I spoke Ukrainian on multiple occasions in my first weeks back. During a visit to Chicago, I discovered there is a Ukrainian section of the city in which you can buy all sorts of Ukrainian food and clothes, and even the people that live there greet you with “Добрий день!” (“Good day!”) and speak mainly Ukrainian. Naturally, I was craving квас (kvas), вареники (Varenyky), and вода з газом (sparkling water), and struck up a polite conversation with the market attendants about where in Ukraine they were from and my experiences in Chernivtsi. The next week, I was excited to discover a Czech village near where I live. There is also a museum of Czech history there, and here is the weird part; we ran into a Ukrainian family just in side the entrance. I heard them speaking Ukrainian and walked over to ask them, “Ви розмовляєте українською?” (“Do you speak Ukrainian?”) They were just as surprised as I was! I’m sure in the future I will have more experiences like this, so I plan to continue studying, and hopefully come back to visit Ukraine in the near future.”
“After Ukrainian-Scandinavian Summer School I took a trip to Scandinavian countries, so I have had great opportunity to practice Norwegian by speaking everyday phrases, asking the way in the streets or ordering something in a café. The most interesting moment was, when I came to Tau (it is a town in Western Norway) and had to take a bus to the Preikestolen mountain. But it happened, that not a single bus driver knew English or at least other languages that I know. That’s why I had to engage in a real conversation in Norwegian and even try to deal with the southern dialect! Both Norwegians communicated with me with full with understanding of my slow expression of thoughts and I eventually achieved, what I wanted: I got to the destination and has received many tips before getting to the mountain. Nowadays I continue to study Norwegian by myself, inspired with my successes!”
“After Summer School I continue learning Norwegian at my university in Lviv. Also, within the framework of my NGO I established Scandinavian group, where we hold different conferences, meetings with people who have studied in Scandinavian countries, ambassadors and experts in this field. Beside this, we created Norwegian and Swedish language groups for those, who don’t have opportunities to study these languages at the university. Thereby, I consider the Summer School as a great push for me to implement my old intentions!”
Text and photo: Alina Kovalenko