On July 18, 2015, American Councils organized an event during which NSLI-Y participants studying in Chisinau, Moldova engaged in a bilateral language learning initiative with their Moldovan peers from the Access English Microscholarship Program. This unique opportunity enabled participants of two U.S. Department of State supported programs to come together in an environment that promoted linguistic learning and people-to-people diplomacy. During the event, students played language games, with NSLI-Y students speaking exclusively in Russian and Moldovan Access students speaking in English.
The English ACESS Microscholarship program, which began in 2004, provides economically disadvantaged teenagers in Moldova with extracurricular classes and English-language focused events during summers. In addition to English-language enhancement activities, students gain an appreciation for American culture and democratic values. In visiting the ACCESS camp, the students had an excellent opportunity to focus on their goals.
NSLI-Y and Access students in Chisinau have much in common. All of the students are interested in language and culture. Naturally, all participants were excited to meet one another and practice using their language skills in a spontaneous environment with peers. Being outdoors in beautiful Chisinau added to the festive and informal mood.
The event began with language games that paired students into small groups. This gave the students an opportunity to practice language and also make individual connections with each other. The event ended with a friendly competition of Rock, Paper, Scissors, or kamen’, nozhnit-sy, bumaga.
As part of summer 2015 program, NSLI-Y participants spent several hours volunteering in Chisinau. One group of students volunteered at the Ion Creangă National Children’s Library, while another group spent time beautifying Chisinau’s Dendradium Park with their Moldovan ACCESS peers.
NSLI-Y participants at the Children’s library began their activities with an introduction by the local librarians, who spoke about the library’s operations. Several fortunate students were even shown a special storage room where the library stores its oldest holdings, books from the 19th century. Following the introductions, the students worked diligently cleaning and sorting library catalog cards, as well as organizing and shelving books.