Monday, April 8, 2013

The first day of planned tours, etc.

Yesterday, Monday, April 8, 2013 was our first day of planned activities. The jet lag is intense! I woke up at 3:30 am ready to go. Unfortunately, there was nothing to go to. So I went down to the fitness center and did cross training for about 45 minutes.

I came back to my room and was able to sleep for about another hour. We're about 10 hours later than West Coast time. So, 11 am here is like 1 am to my body and as the day wore on, I started to really drag.

Our first stop was the IREX office here in Kiev.

We spent the morning there learning about the history and culture of Ukraine. Which had some interesting aspects. We had an early lunch then went to visit a local, public school.
The staff and students were great, but the building was more like a converted house than a school. The hallways were narrow, flooring was varied and haphazard and the classrooms are about the size of bedrooms.

The students gave presentations to us on their favorite visual artists. This was, for them, a way to practice their English, which was multiple times better then my Russian. The East part of Ukraine speaks Russian and the Western/Southern part speaks Ukrainian. The difference between the two languages is similar to the differences between Spanish and Portuguese.

Here's a quick video of some of the students saying Hi to my students:

From the school, we took about a 3 hour tour of Kiev. When I heard that I  are would be going to Ukraine, I was not real excited. I imagined that it would be a visually depressing place due to the Soviet influence. I am also here at the time of year that is most gray and with little greenery. There nice parts of the city, but I did find the tour yesterday more like I expected.

There were rows upon rows of these Soviet-type housing.

We saw many statues of famous Ukraine/Soviet heroes from the 2 world wars as well as symbols Soviet propaganda.

Below is the statue of the Motherland. It's sits on a hill that is the highest point in the city.

Here are a few other statues we saw, each has a history of why it's there.

The more traditional cathedrals with their ornate roofs of gold were very impressive.

We finished up the day at a traditional Ukrainian restaurant. Both dinner meals we've had so far start out with a course of different salads, cheeses, and meats, this is followed by some type of root vegetables like potatoes and then we are served grilled chicken, pork and beef. The food is very good and hearty and just about everything is served with sour creme. And, of course, something to wash it all down with:


  1. I think it is interesting that you end the day at a bar drinking beer. I thought you were supposed to be gaining insight to teaching methods not brewing methods?

  2. Is this a typical public school? Is it single gender? How are their technology capabilities?

  3. There are several different types of public schools. Some are semi-private as well. This school is probably typical of a totally public school for students that may want to attend college. It's co-ed and it had no Internet connection that I know about. At least it was not apparent.

    Other school's we've visited were much nicer. I'll be sharing those experiences when I get some time to put it all together.

    Thanks for your comment.