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Leader of the course Iryna Ilnytska

Support from war-torn Ukraine for University of Exeter course celebrating the country’s language and culture

Special University of Exeter courses to help people learn about Ukraine’s spectacular language and culture are being supported by teachers based in the war-torn country.

Trained opera singer Iryna Ilnytska has been leading courses in Ukrainian since the Russian invasion earlier this year to show support for her nation and to help people communicate with refugees who have made Britain their home.

Iryna’s work is now being backed by experts in Ukraine who have provided teaching resources for students – materials unavailable otherwise because of the conflict.

Iryna, who studied linguistics at Kyiv Linguistic University in Ukraine and Zurich University, hoped to use the language textbook Krok written by Olesia Palins’ka and Oksana Turkevych. But it wasn’t available online or in shops in the UK and although Iryna saw it was in stock in Lviv, the city in the West of Ukraine, there was no way it could be delivered to the UK.

Iryna emailed the authors who kindly send her a PDF version with permission to use the textbook in the class free of charge because they were so pleased people could learn Ukrainian in Exeter. The authors also sent Iryna extra teacher lesson resources. In return Iryna has donated to Ukrainian charities.

Iryna, who also organises and performs in classical concerts in Devon to introduce Ukrainian music to the county, said: “It is really special to me to be able to teach these courses, although it is sad people around the world are learning about Ukraine because of war. The fact that our old, beautiful culture is being destroyed by Russia every day has encouraged many Ukrainians to digitalize more information about our arts, traditions, achievements and historical facts to share it with the whole world. Ukrainians realise now more than ever how important it is to preserve our history.

“I believe that peace will come to Ukraine and that the Ukrainian language will be in a big demand during work to rebuild the country, and the whole world will want to help. I’m so happy and grateful for the support of Olesia and Oksana.”

An online short version of the course again from 7th November. It is open to anyone aged 18 or over and no previous knowledge of the language required.

The course takes place over three weeks and is designed to give people an initial taster of the language.

To take part people will need a PC, laptop or tablet with camera and microphone and a stable internet connection. The course will be delivered via Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

To find out more go to:

Date: 30 September 2022