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"Six Weeks in Kiev" - a Diary by Roger Merritt

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In the summer of 1993, I spent a little over six-weeks in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, and taught conversational English. I met one-on-one with about eighteen students, usually six a day, and learned a great deal about their lives and occupations. Some of them were students, others were teachers, computer software developers, journalists, scientists and doctors. A well educated group!

I lived in a typical high-rise block with faulty utilities, rode public transport, and bought food from markets, gastronomes, and hard currency stores, ate in restaurants, and was guest in several Ukrainian homes. I visited the ballet, opera, museums, churches, monasteries and made a weekend trip to the southern Crimea.

This is the index page for my diary. I originally wrote the diary in longhand each day in a diary book that I kept. It contains thoughts, impressions, and daily experiences of the busy six-week schedule that I and a group of American college students had while teaching English. I have edited this edition, hopefully, in a way that will make it easy to read and understand. All text in brackets [ ], are "afterthoughts" that I added while editing. I hope that by reading this, you will feel like you are taking a trip to Kiev. Be prepared though, because it is quite long!

Note: This site is not an accurate and up to date profile of living conditions, economic trends, or life-styles in Kiev today! The contents reflect what I found in 1993. For instance, when I was in Kiev, Russian was still the official language. Since my trip a lot of changes in the spelling of place names have taken effect because more people there prefer the Ukrainian names now. I have not attempted to change the names or spellings as I edited this diary for the web. All spelling is the same as it was in 1993.

The Diary:

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Many people have asked me how I became involved with teaching conversational English in Kiev, and have expressed a desire to participate in a similar effort. The answer is that I had connections with the leaders of the group from Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN. I do not currently have any information about plans to teach English, or any close contact with people in Kiev. However, our group was patterned after an organization in Oklahoma, called "Let's Start Talking," which is an ongoing organization that plans similar campaigns for groups affiliated with the Church of Christ. They train groups to go to many different countries around the world. For some Websites about the churches in Kiev, look below.

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This page has been on the web since June 1997