Полоцкий государственный университет

Polotsk
State
University

On March, 15 the official meeting took place between the rector of Polotsk State University Dmitry Lazovsky and students from University of Southern California (USA) Nickolas Kosturos and Sarah Urke, who came to Belarus within Fulbright educational exchange program.

One of the most important aspects of the meeting was the discussion of the actual topic connected with the accession of the Republic of Belarus to Bologna Process. It implies harmonization and coordination of educational systems of European countries for creation of unified European area of higher education. The meeting was also aimed at the discussion of some questions connected with the perspectives of international collaboration of our university and peculiarities of the educational system development of the Republic of Belarus.

Meeting with the students from USA

Nickolas and Sarah were glad to answer some questions and shared their impressions about staying in Belarus.

- Nickolas, please, tell us about your visit to Polotsk State University?

- I’m here on the Fulbright exchange program which is possible due to the United States Government to send Americans overseas to teach English. And I’ve been here since September and I’m here till June. I’m teaching at the Department of World Literature and Foreign Language in Polotsk and I’m having a fantastic time. I love my job. It’s great to go around speaking about my culture, English language and American culture. So that’s my primary job here – to teach English to university students of all ages.

The students from the University of Southern California (USA)

- How come that you came here to Novopolotsk, Polotsk? Did you choose the cities? Or was it planned according to the program?

- I chose Belarus as a whole. I wanted to come to Belarus, because it is a less popular destination for Americans, in general. So I was curious myself about Belarus. And they assigned me to Polotsk, and I’m very glad because I’m the first American to be here and I’ve had a lot of attention from the locals. I’ve been able to meet a lot of great people. So I’m really thankful to be here in Polotsk. I think it is a very special place.

- Can you evaluate the level of education here?

- Well I was actually very surprised when I first came to Belarus. A lot of students at this university speak foreign language better than our students at American university. So I think that the system is very effective, at least at teaching foreign languages which is my specialty. And there are a lot of similarities between Belarusian educational system and American educational system.

- Sarah, how come that you came to Belarus?

- I’m here in Polotsk, Belarus to learn about the culture and also share my American culture with students here at this university.

Nickolas Kosturos and Sarah Urke

- Is it your first visit to Belarus? What kind of impressions have you got? How long are you going to stay?

- Yes, this is my first time to Belarus. I have really enjoyed my stay so far. I’m here only for one week because I have a short break from my university in California but I really enjoy everyone. The people are very, very nice. And it’s just a little bit colder than in California.

- Nick, can you tell us about the American and English Culture club?

- I’ve started the American and English Culture club when I came to Polotsk between the students and me to talk about many topics of American culture, for example, holidays and traditions, how the American universities education system works. So we host once a week, both in Polotsk and Novopolotsk. I start with the presentation and afterwards I leave plenty of time for questions. And students can ask me whatever they want: about American life, restaurants, anything of the sort. So that’s the purpose of the club, and I’m also surprised by how well the students speak English in the club.

- What can you say about the perspectives between Polotsk State University and the American universities?

- The cooperation is really good, because obviously I’m here. It means that our program, the Fulbright program, established the relationship with Polotsk State University. So, hopefully, this is the start of a very good relationship and maybe next year there will be another American student.