Four participants of the Russian Language Program administered by American Councils in Chisinau, Moldova are expanding their linguistic and cultural knowledge through their projects at the “Center for Young Naturalists” in Chisinau. The goals of the American Council’s designed extracurricular program project are linguistic practice and engagement in the host community life and its culture.
The center is locally funded and welcomes all youth who are interested in nature, the outdoors, and raising and caring for animals. Participants who are now employing their Russian language skills and learning from Moldova’s “young naturalists”. Several times a week, Hal, Anna, Colman, and Andrew spend afternoons at the Center, assisting in caring for the animals and surrounding grounds. This has been an excellent platform for the NSLI-Y participants to utilize their language skills and connect with local youth. This includes animated, nuanced lessons on an integral component of Moldovan and Russian culture – humor.
“In this situation, I am forced to speak quickly and precisely, because of the nature of taking care of animals. Certain sentence structures have become more familiar as well, and my listening comprehension has improved after listening to more non-classroom style Russian. I have learned a lot more about Russian/Moldovan-style humor. They are constantly explaining different Russian sayings and proverbs, and their interpretations of them that I am starting to get a better feel for jokes here.”
-Anna, NSLI-Y Moldova, Academic Year 2014-2015