According to one of the crucial aims of Pyatigorsk State University development for the next few years which is “Internationalization of the whole PSU activity, development of the university as an international, world center of linguistic and cultural diversity”, the Chair of German Studies and Intercultural Communication works actively in this direction.
Fr om April 6 to 18, 2019, Pyatigorsk State University together with partner schools no.12 and no.1 with intensive study of English received a school students delegation fr om Burgstädt, Germany within a program of a school exchange.
“My German Dreams” project was initiated in 2017, after the Chair of German Studies and Intercultural Communication, headed by N.V. Papka, director of the Center of German Language and Culture, won a grant at the all-Russian competition for the popularization of German in the Russian Federation.
The project of the chair entered the top 3 best projects in the country. One of its main aims included support and preservation of cultural traditions among national minorities, especially Russian Germans.
Students of PSU and schools of Pyatigorsk and Lermontov saw “German Dreams” coming true after arrival at Frankfurt-am-Main airport in April 2018.
The visit program of Russian students to Germany included two stages: Two-day seminar, conducted by Ditmar Falk, Goethe Institute lector in Frankfurt-am-Main. The second stage included a complete immersion into the German families’ lifestyle and study in Burgstädt school.
Together with their age mates fr om Burgstädt school, our students attended classes, learned about timetable, program, and forms of education, as well as extramural life of German school students. Russian students were impressed by the landmarks of Burgstädt and nearby cities of Dresden, Leipzig, Chemnitz. They met with representatives of Russian Germans in the Kolorit cultural center, and representatives of Burgstädt rescue service, visited theater wh ere they watched Romeo and Juliette ballet. In addition, all families, wh ere project’s participants lived, prepared their own program for each student introducing their family traditions.
A return visit of German school students to Pyatigorsk took place this spring. Professor A.P. Gorbunov, PSU Rector, organized a welcome reception for Claudia Hirschfelder and Ruth Arnold, teachers who accompanied the group. Russian colleagues were also invited at the reception: Prof. E.N. Pronchenko, Director of IRGLHT, Ass. Prof. N.S. Shavkun, Head of the Chair of German Studies and Intercultural Communication, and Ass. Prof. N.V. Papka, supervisor of the project. At the meeting, they discussed a range of issues concerning further cooperation with Burgstädt school in students exchanges.
A meeting with project participants with Andrey Skripnik, Pyatigorsk Mayor and Lyudmila Pokhilko, Pyatigorsk Duma Chairwoman was very fruitful as well. A. Skripnik underlined the necessity of maintenance of such major projects and expressed hope for further educational collaboration development with German partners.
During the project, German students attended schools no.12 (Pyatigorsk) and no.1 (Lermontov) with intensive English classes, as well as seminars on English and German languages in PSU.
At classes in Pyatigorsk State University, students learned the nuances of advertisement texts in English (moderated by E.V. Demidova, senior lector at the Chair of English language and Professional Communication). They also took part in an interactive country study game in German language, organized by N.V. Papka and G.A. Lebedenko.
The visit program of German school students was very rich with one event going after another. After a sightseeing tour by Pyatigorsk and Mashuk Mountain, trip to Elbrus Mountain with PSU students, the project participants visited Kislovodsk and its huge park, Essentuki, and Zheleznovodsk with their pump rooms and park areas.
As offered by Yulia Maltseva, director of the House of Nationalities in Pyatigorsk, the guests visited school no. 31 with intensive sports classes. German students were surprised by the equipment and organization of the new school.
A visit to the ethnographic tourist complex “Kazachye Podvorye” (Cossak Farmstead) (Borgustanskaya) impressed the students. They saw a real historical reconstruction of one of the first Cossack farmsteads, wh ere the lifestyle of Cossacks between XIX and XX centuries is shown. Not only national costumes are reconstructed here but also the dishes of traditional Cossack cuisine. The guests were served in keeping with the best traditions of Russian Cossacks. In order to dive deeper into the culture, the participants were offered to take part in the staging of Svatovstvo (wedding). A girl from the German group became a young bride, and a Russian group member became a groom.
The visit has ended but great impressions, warm smiles, and joy from the conversations with students from another country have remained. Saying farewells at the airport nobody hid their tears but everyone left with a hope for the next meeting.