Pushkin Institute volunteers help Artek campers from 19 countries study Russian culture

Foreign students at Artek study the Russian language and culture with the help of experts from the Ambassadors of the Russian Language in the World program. Volunteer students from Russian universities share their knowledge about Russian culture and customs, teach folk dancing and traditional games. Communication in Russian is also very important. Taken together, all this helps young foreigners become a part of the Artek life, improve their Russian and learn new things about Russia.

The educational program “Russian Language for Education, Research, Art, Business and High Technology” is in its second year at Artek. It is supported by the Pushkin State Russian Language Institute, an institution recognized for its expertise in teaching Russian as a foreign language. During this session, 150 foreign campers from 19 countries took part in the project. They were all interested in learning the Russian language and culture. This program is animated by 15 volunteers, who are linguistics students from Russian universities taking part in the Ambassadors of the Russian Language in the World program.

“This year we received more than 400 applications from various countries, which means that the Russian language is becoming increasingly popular around the world,” Svetlana Ulyanova, the program curator, said. “We split children into groups depending on their language skills, and every group had its own program. Lessons are held every day. We use play and interactive formats as much as we can by holding workshops on Russian traditional games or theater, regional studies quizzes, games related to folk art, and music lessons.”

For example, in the morning children learned to play the ball game lapta and gorodki, and now moved on to prepare a dancing flashmob. “The movements they are about to learn blend dance traditions from a number of Russian folk dances,” Ambassador of the Russian Language and student at the Pyatigorsk State University, Andrei Klenin, said. “Last year the entire Camp Khrustalny took part in the project, bringing together as many as 350 people, and we were able to record the dance near Vozhaty building using a drone. When children saw the results, they were delighted. This year we want to create a similar experience.”

During the theater workshop, children learned some tongue twisters, and were challenged to present them as pantomimes. “Our group had to show a tongue twister on the navigating ships, which was not easy, but we managed to do it,” Nare Qu from South Korea said. “The ambassadors also told us that helping each other and working as a team was essential for any theater performance. I think that this also applies to Artek in general, since everything we do in our group, we do together. This is not the way we live in South Korea, where everyone is on their own. It was not easy for me during the first days, but now I can easily ask for help, and people are always willing to offer it. It is always better to be together! Thanks to Artek I have made many new friends, and the Russian language has become our lingua franca.”

Sarah Jessice Rumpe from Ireland agrees with Nare: “Our lives here in Artek are all about socializing. Learning new things about the lives of your peers in Russia and abroad is so interesting. I’ve been attracted by the Russian culture and language for quite a while, and coming here in order to experience the country first-hand was my dream. This trip to Artek is my first time I am in Russia, and the first time I can practice my Russian with real people. For this reason, I can say that Artek and the Pushkin Institute made my dream come true.”