A Day in the Life of a Fellow – Ukraine

A Day in the Life of a Fellow – Ukraine


My name is Seneca Ryan and I’m an English Language Fellow in Kiev, Ukraine. My name is Thaddeus McCleary and I’m an English Language Fellow in Vinnytsia, Ukraine. Kiev is a very old city actually, and of course, it’s a post-soviet country here so you can really feel that in the personality here in terms of the architecture and some of the people. But it’s also changing a lot and there’s an energy of embracing in the future. They’ve been through difficult times in recent years but they’re very strong and they’re very warm and friendly. On any given day you never know where you’re gonna find me in Kiev. I may be at America House, I may be at the university, I may be at the English Teaching Center. Generally, I wake up in the morning and I do my prep for the day and then in the afternoon I hop on the bus or the tram or I walk. Kiev is a really great walking city. There’s lots of green spaces. You see a lot of people out strolling around, so it’s a really wonderful place to kind of take in the scenery. My university is the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. I mostly work with the English writing center with a small group of student tutors there. We help the rest of the student body with their English writing skills. It’s been really rewarding because I get to know those students really intimately and that’s quite fun for me. One of the best things about being a Fellow is you get an opportunity to see a lot of different things that you wouldn’t necessarily get to see any other time. You’ll see around right now, in celebration of Easter, these kind of popular cultural style of Easter painting eggs. This part of their culture, this artistic, creative aspect is something that they’re really proud of. I’m a Fellow in Ukraine with my wife and my two sons. We’ve spent some time abroad before, but we’re enjoying our time here in Ukraine. I think overall, in Vinnytsia, that we’ve been able to quickly become adjusted and assimilated to local life here. We don’t feel like we have a day or schedule that is much different from people in our neighborhood. And I feel like it’s given us a chance to really feel comfortable and to feel like we could get support here in our city when we need it. On most days I go to my university in the late morning, and I have classes there in the afternoon. And so what I try to do is I focus on speaking skills and try to keep it light and fun and in hopes of them just getting some free speaking practice. When I finish at the university, I try to start secondary projects in the evening. There are several universities here in town that I work with to help with professional development for their instructors. And also at the Window on America, there are discussion clubs and there are workshops for local teachers. You know, I think a lot of what our family’s day-to-day happiness and comfort comes down to is the support that you get. I’ve been an English Language teacher in other countries, but really, The English Language Fellow Program is completely different in that I have support from the embassy directly, really to answer any questions I have and to provide support about my lessons and about day-to-day life. One of the great things about the Fellowship Program is that for the first time I really feel like I’m being treated as a professional, and I’m really well supported here by the community and by the embassy. So, if you’re thinking about becoming a Fellow, my advice to be brave and make that leap. I think you won’t be disappointed.

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