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AGTS student Judi Ballweber comments on her experience studying in Kiev, Ukraine

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Several years ago I studied a year of Russian, which definitely helped with communication. English is offered at the Seminary so I sat in on the second level and worked on my Russian while helping with pronunciation and contextual questions for the English learners.

After learning the Lord’s Prayer in Russian, I quickly realized that the Lord’s Prayer is often prayed in services and group settings in Ukrainian churches. It was amazing how learning this beloved prayer opened up my understanding of sermon themes in the church services where there was no interpreter. It gave me a greater sense of community as I worshipped with these precious believers in their language. .


Often people asked why I was speaking Russian in Ukraine. The program at ETS is in English and Russian, as both are trade languages in that vast region and ETS is an international school. So, I also started learning some Ukrainian phrases.


Judi getting a lesson in the proper Uzbek life.

I even learned some of the Uzbek language, such as how to count to 5 in Uzbek–birrr, ick, ooch, tort, besch. For my Teaching Methods class, my cohort chose to teach our graduate level class of international students how to count to five. A couple from Tashkent, Uzbekistan led the cultural transformation process. I was chosen to be the ‘proper Uzbek wife’ complete with 20 braids (negotiated down from 100) and wore the proper Uzbek head covering and poured tea for my ‘proper Uzbek (Ukrainian) husband’ while sitting on the floor in proper Uzbek style. Shrieks of laughter filled the classroom.

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Updated: Thursday, April 10, 2014 11:59 AM


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