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Ukrainians and Swedish Guests Were Breaking Stereotypes Together

During October 10–11, the Centre of the Swedish Language and Culture (Lesya Ukrainka Eastern European National University – LUEENU Lutsk, Ukraine) took part in the Ukrainian-Swedish project “Breaking Down Stereotypes — Building Trust and Hope”. This project is organized by the Development Centre “Democracy Through Culture” (Kyiv, Ukraine) and its director Oleksandr Butsenko, municipality of Botkyrka town (Sweden) and with the support of the Swedish Institute (Sweden).

The Culture Department of Lutsk City Council organized meetings of the project participants in Lutsk and arranged a set of cultural events. The Centre of the Swedish Language was responsible for accompanying Swedish delegation and providing Swedish and English translations (The Head of the Centre of the Swedish Language and Culture – Alla Gnatiuk (Swedish, English), Senior teacher of the Institute of Foreign Philology (Department of Applied Linguistics) – Olena Kotys (English), student of the Department of Applied Linguistics – Glib Skorobagatko (English).

Тetjana Gnativ, the Head of the Culture Department of Lutsk City Council organized an official meeting where the following guests were present: the Director of the Development Centre “Democracy through Culture” (Kiev) – Oleksandr Butsenko, representatives of Botkyrka municipality (Sweden) with Cultural Officer and Project Manager of Botkyrka Municipality Culture Department – Susanna Freund Widman, the President of the Scandinavian Childrens Mission – Bosse Wallenberg, the Head of the Board of the Volyn Regional Charitable Fund “Children’s Mission. Ukraine” – Liudmyla Loniuk, youth from Pavlograd (Dnipropetrovsk region, Ukraine) with their leader – Olena Shulika, the organizers of the exhibition of Swedish art-photographer Hans Wachner in Lutsk – Tetiana Golubchuk and Zoryana Kuts. The meeting was opened with a speech of the First Deputy Mayor of Lutsk Taras Iakovlev.

The students of Lesya Ukrainka Eastern European National University (Institute of Foreign Philology), who study Swedish as the third foreign language were introduced to the Swedish guests and during the meeting they gained the opportunity to learn better the Swedish culture, way of life, as well as disprove existing stereotypes about Sweden and Ukraine.

The schedule of the meeting was quite intense. On October 10–11, the conference “Sweden: How Ukrainians See This Country” took place. All the participants had the possibility to share their thoughts and ideas. They received interesting and useful information about co-operation between Sweden and Ukraine, common projects and future plans. Breaking the stereotypes maintained the main issue of the conference.

Alla Gnatiuk (the Head of the Centre of the Swedish Language and Culture) and Julia Mosiuk (student of the Institute of Foreign Philology) made a presentation about the Centre of the Swedish Language, its activity and achievements since its opening. They disclosed the students’ conception of Sweden and existing stereotypes. Swedish-speaking guests were nicely impressed by the possibility to use their native language during the meeting.

 

 

  

Later the participants visited the exhibition of Swedish art-photographer Hans Wachner, who recently visited Lutsk and our University. The next event prepared for the meeting was a class in Ukrainian folk dance together with dance ensembles “Junist” (“Youth”) and “Volynianochka” (“Lady of Volyn”). The dance ended in the flash mob “Ukraine-Europe” in the Choreography Hall of Lutsk Palace of Culture.

The foreign guests recorded video greetings of our students telling about their life, interests and dreams in Swedish, which they will present to their own students in Sweden.

It was also fascinating to watch how Swedish representatives enjoyed learning national Ukrainian crafts, making Ukrainian dolls (“lialka-motanka”), toys from hay and clay and making animated cartoons featuring dolls in national Ukrainian costumes in Lutsk Central Library for Children together with the Director of the Library – Nina Bocharova and talented handicraft workers. During the festive dinner, Scandinavian guests visited Ukrainian cuisine workshop. They enjoyed cooking and then tasting Ukrainian dishes.

The students’ feedback was only positive. The meeting left unforgettable impressions. School-leavers from Pavlograd became interested in studying the Swedish language in Lesya Ukrainka Eastern European National University. Lutsk youth gained new friends from the fabulous north kingdom of Sweden. Foreign guests, in their turn, expressed the desire to visit Lutsk again, develop cooperation with the Centre of the Swedish Language and continue working on the project of breaking stereotypes.

 

Alla GNATIUK

Photo Pelle WÄNGBORG, Tetiana GOLUBCHUK

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