Ukrainian Students Exploring U.S. Education at Southeast


Southeast Missouri State University is hosting six students from Vinnytsia State Pedagogical University in Vinnytsia, Ukraine, as part of a three-week internship program focused on learning about American education and culture.

The students, along with Svitlana Kuzmina, senior lecturer in the Department of Foreign Languages with Vinnytsia State, are visiting Southeast through June 4.

The students, who are studying to be English K-12 teachers, are learning about the U.S. education system and American culture, said Dr. Irina Ustinova, professor of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) in Southeast’s Department of English.

“Their main purpose is to learn about the pedagogical techniques and strategies in American classrooms and how to use some of those methods in their own teaching,” Ustinova said. “It was also a great opportunity for them to learn about Southeast and to share their Ukrainian culture with our community.”

“We’re very excited to visit and see the difference between the Ukrainian and American education systems,” said Karolina Golubiatnikova. “It’s been really good to also look into the courses at Southeast.”

Several Southeast faculty members delivered guest lectures and workshops, including Ustinova on intercultural competence; Dr. Simin Cwick, chair of Southeast’s Department of Middle and Secondary Education, and Dr. David Powell, professor of middle and secondary education, on education standards and strategies in the United States; Floyd Lockhart, Learning Management System administrator in the Office of Instructional Technology, on how to incorporate technology into the classroom; John Campbell, TESOL instructor, on English writing composition and online course options; Dr. Sarah Dietrich, assistant professor of TESOL, on virtual exchange projects; and Dr. Susan Kendrick, chair of Southeast’s Department of English, on Shakespeare and his work.

“Dr. Kendrick’s presentation was really interesting and useful,” said Victoria Nevinska. “We learned some new information about Shakespeare and some new content and meanings of his work. I was deeply impressed by what she taught us.”

“It was very interesting to see how teachers here incorporate technology in their courses and think about how to use it in our classrooms,” added Golubiatnikova.

Carl Hess, Southeast assistant professor and information literacy librarian, helps Ukrainian student Maria Rusina, during a research session at Kent Library.

During their visit, the students also visited Kent Library to learn and apply new research techniques with Carl Hess, assistant professor and information literacy librarian, and Southeast’s Writing Lab in the Center for Writing Excellence to enhance their English writing skills.

“The time at Kent Library helped us to find more information to use in our research paperwork and to write a better paper,” said Nadia Hutyria.

“The Writing Lab was something very interesting because we don’t have a lab in Ukraine,” said Victoria Severin. “I found it really helpful with my skills and to be helpful for other students.”

The students also visited Intensive English Program classes, observing how these classes are taught and to improve their English speaking and understanding skills with other international students.

“This was a great opportunity for them to develop their oral and listening skills with students of various English language skills,” Ustinova said.

The Ukrainian students explored the local and regional area including visits to the River Campus; downtown Cape Girardeau; Trail of Tears State Park; Nashville, Tennessee; and St. Louis, Missouri. They also have been able to participate in community events, including Fun Day at St. Paul Lutheran School in Jackson, Missouri, where they taught students about Ukrainian culture and education, and presented a cooking demonstration.

The students will conclude their stay at Southeast with a presentation about their country’s history, education system, cuisine and culture on Thursday, May 31, at 1 p.m. in the University Center Redhawks Room.

 Top Photo Caption: From left to right are Dr. Irina Ustinova, Southeast professor of TESOL; Ukrainian students Maria Rusina, Nadia Hutyria, Angelina Shvets, Victoria Severin, Victoria Nevinska and Karolina Golubiatnikova; and Svetlana Kuzmina, senior lecturer in the Department of Foreign Languages with Vinnytsia State.