University ‘Ukraina’ from Peace Corps Volunteer point of view 



Onita Gasinec,

2-nd grade full-time student

of 'Translation' specialty

Carpathian institute of enterpreneurship of 'Ukraine' University,


Valentina Pilash,

1-st grade full-time student

of 'Translation' specialty

Carpathian institute of enterpreneurship of 'Ukraine' University



Life is beautiful especially if you are young and you are a student of the University ‘Ukraina’ in Khust. You get used to the picturesque spot of land where the University is located on. It’s the only place in the area where you can get Higher education. That’s why it is called alma mater of education and home place of 1411 students. Everything seems to be usual: studies, lectures, professors and leisure activities.

But when new people come they keep their eyes open and see unusual things. We have decided to ask a teacher of English; a Peace Corps volunteer Alison Burch to grant us an Interview. She came from California in December 2011.

Thanks to our Foreign Language Department we have the opportunity to learn English with native speakers.

Since the very first day of her arrival to Khust the students had accumulated a great deal of questions about her life, work, and impressions of our University ‘Ukraina’ and our students.

Photo: Alison Burch with students (Alison is in the centre of the photo)


Here is the list of the most frequently used questions and the whole interview.

Onita's Questions:

What is the difference between American and Ukrainian students?

I am sure that there are many differences and many similarities between Ukrainian and American students. However, I have only been an American student, not a Ukrainian student. Likewise, I have only taught Ukrainian students (in Chicago, I taught American adults, not university students). Therefore, I do not believe I can give a definite answer. However, I believe that students around the world can learn anything, as long as the topic is made interesting by the teacher and the students can relate to the topic.

What are the most interesting things for you during the work in our university?

I was not aware that I was coming to the Institute until a couple weeks before I arrived in Khust. Now that I am here, I love working with our students and teachers.

Do you feel easy with your university colleages?

Yes, I have good relationships with my colleagues. They are always willing to help me and answer questions. Most importantly, they are patient with me and are very kind. They have been very welcoming.

Do you have any remarks to the university curriculum?

I think the Institute offers a good Translation and Foreign Languages program. Students take an array of interesting classes and the availability of a five-year masters program is an excellent option. It is obvious, however, that the Department’s teachers have had an exceptional impact on students. The teacher-student relationships here are wonderful. They form strong bonds that increase learning skills, trust, and respect between the two groups.

If you were a director, what will you do the first?

I enjoy teaching too much to be a Director.

Is your being here necessary for our university?

No, I am not necessary to the Institute but I like to believe that my work here for the past ten months has been helpful. I cannot imagine teaching anywhere else in Ukraine, or even America. The students and my colleagues here make me really enjoy teaching.

What is the most important for you here?

The most important thing for me at the Institute is my relationship with both the students and teachers. If I can get the students to respect me, but have fun getting to know me in class, then their language skills will naturally increase just through simple conversation with me. As for the teachers, I am excited to show them some new methods of teaching a foreign language.

Did you had some aims when you came to Ukraine?

My goal upon coming to Ukraine was, primarily, to teach the English language. A wonderful byproduct of this experience is being immersed in Ukrainian culture, language, and traditions.

Our knowledge of English. What do you think about it?

The students who regularly attend class have very high levels of English. Furthermore, in many of the students, I sense an excitement for learning my language. I love nothing more than being able to hold discussions with students and learn about their beliefs, hopes, opinions, and dreams. I love when students try. It does not matter to me if a student gets a couple of words wrong or does not know much English as long as they try to talk to me, then I believe they are truly learning.

 What do you think about our University?

I believe this university provides students with an excellent collection of knowledgeable and upstanding teachers and professors. Students have a superior opportunity to learn from these great men and women who work very hard to share their knowledge. At the same time, our teachers and professors are very lucky to work with such great students.


Valentyna’s Questions:

 What did you wait to meet in University ‘Ukraina’?

I usually try do not have many expectations of things, but the Institute and my life here in Khust has by far exceeded my hopes. I feel very comfortable in the Institute and with my colleagues and students. Many people have gone out of their way to make me feel welcome and valued and I greatly appreciate it. I know many volunteers who feel lost and alone at times, and that is not the case with me. I have met some really amazing friends here.

How can you characterize Ukrainian system of education?

I am not very familiar with the Ukrainian system of education, but it seems to me that they are a good amount of choices concerning education and I think this is very astute of Ukrainian Ministry of Education. I have always believed that because all people are different, all people learn differently. A country that makes sure to have options for its pupils and students is a smart one.

What do you meet strange in Ukraine?

Whenever you travel and live in a different country than you were born in, you will always see things that may seem strange or odd to you. But they are usually not strange, just different than what you are used to. I really like learning about the cultural similarities and differences between America and Ukraine. I try and enjoy each new experience, such as extremely long and hot bus rides, rather than focus on the bad things.

Do you like Ukrainian students?

Yes, I love our students! They are very kind, smart, and very willing to learn.

Do you like teaching in University ‘Ukraina’?

Yes, I love teaching here. As I said before, I could not imagine teaching anywhere else.

Do you like to live in Ukraine?

Yes, I like living in Ukraine. This is a wonderful opportunity for me. I have wanted to become a Peace Corps volunteer for the past five years ever since I volunteered in Lima, Peru. Now that I am one, I get the opportunity to immerse myself in Ukrainian history, culture, customs, and language. I get to meet people that I would never have been able to had the Institute not invited a Peace Corps Volunteer. I want to thank you all very much for this great experience.

Do you have friends in Ukraine?

Yes, I have several Ukrainian friends.


So, we highly appreciate that we have such a good teacher and friend as Alison Burch. We are conscious that we are the part of her family in Ukraine .We have to pay attention to the fact that though we are people of different nationalities and different ways of thinking we have a lot in common.

We have a nice opportunity to invite you to the University ‘Ukraina’ in Khust and have a rest in the University summer camp, with our teacher, Peace Corps Volunteer – Alison Burch.