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Interview with Exchange Students from Ukraine: Vira Holiyan and Ihor Kotsiuba

Subject: Interview Education
Description: CIUS interview audio.

The student exchange program between the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv (Lviv University) and the University of Alberta (U of A) has completed its sixth year. In the 2011-12 academic year, two exchange students from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Lviv, Vira Holiyan and Ihor Kotsiuba, studied at the U of A.

Both Ukrainian students noted the importance of the well-structured curriculum at the U of A, course options, private rather than public announcement of grades, the greater openness of Canadian professors, and active student participation in class. They emphasized that courses they attended at the U of A tended to be more oriented toward practice than those in Ukraine. The Ukrainian students liked the U of A campus, where all facilities are in one place. In Lviv, by contrast, university buildings are scattered across the city. U of A libraries were also convenient to use and usually had the required books available.

Both students stressed that they had little difficulty in working in English upon embarking on their studies here, partly because much of their language use centred on mathematical terminology, which is universal. In some cases exchange students from Ukraine had to devote several weeks to adjusting to the daily use of English upon their arrival in Canada. In everyday life, Ihor and Vira noted the comfort and convenience of Edmonton. They were impressed by Canadian hospitality and attracted by informal student culture, as manifested in casual clothing and eating habits.

U of A students Stephan Pacholok (Faculty of Science) and Dominika Lirette (Faculty of Arts) were recipients of the Ivan Franko School of Ukrainian Studies Ukraine Travel Award at CIUS. The two attended the summer course “Ukrainian through Its Living Culture” offered annually in Lviv for the past eleven years by the Ukrainian Culture, Language and Literature Program in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at the U of A. They found studying in Lviv an unforgettable experience that allowed them to improve their ancestral language through immersion in an authentic Ukrainian-speaking environment and everyday experience. They attended regular classes taught by Dr. Alla Nedashkivska, walked around the city, attended plays and concerts, and went to cafes and restaurants. The students were charmed by the rich cultural life of Lviv and its historical sites. There were also very emotional moments when participants met their families, and Lviv was an excellent base from which to travel the country.

On 30 November 2011, all four students participated in the third seminar in the series “Ukraine and Canada as Witnessed by Students,” which is organized to bring attention to the student exchange program between the U of A and Lviv University and other opportunities to study in Ukraine. The event was co-organized with the Alberta Society for the Advancement of Ukrainian Studies and the Ukrainian Students’ Society. The establishment of the new University of Alberta Ukraine Student Exchange Endowment Fund was announced at the seminar. CIUS regards the growth of the new fund as one of its priorities and encourages the community to expand the fund. The short-term goal is to increase its capital to $30,000 to fund one annual scholarship of $1,000. The long-term goal is to reach $100,000, which could provide two annual scholarships of about $1,800 each. Currently, this amount would suffice to cover the cost of travel between Ukraine and Edmonton.

Found in CIUS Newsletter 2012
Author: CIUS
Publisher: CIUS
Date: November 29, 2011
Language: English, Ukrainian
Original Format: Digital audio recording





CIUS, “Interview with Exchange Students from Ukraine: Vira Holiyan and Ihor Kotsiuba,” CIUS-Archives, accessed June 15, 2024,
Unless otherwise noted, this work is subject to a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International license .