University offers Ukrainian lessons for those working with evacuees

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At the start of a Ukrainian course for beginners at ee Tokyo University of Foreign StudiesHidehiko Nakazawa briefed the participants on the purpose of the program.

“Although Ukraine is a treasure trove of intellectual and material products, as well as human and natural resources, few people in Japan know much about it,” said Nakazawa, professor emeritus of Slavic language studies at the university. , in front of a camera. for his students.

“It’s a huge loss for us, and I’m looking to get out of this unfortunate situation.”

The university has launched a free Ukrainian course for beginners in the hope that city authorities and businesses can better accommodate evacuees fleeing the Russian invasion.

The online education program began on April 22 exclusively for those from local governments and groups accepting Ukrainian evacuees.

A student said his workplace was due to accept its fifth evacuee on April 23.

“I applied for the program because saying words like ‘thank you’ (in Ukrainian) can help evacuees relax and socialize with us,” he said.

A woman taking the course said she would like to speak “even a sentence or two in Ukrainian and communicate” with the evacuees.

There were 96 applicants from municipalities, companies and other private organizations, of which 72 participated in the first online course.

The students said they wanted to understand the feelings of evacuees as much as possible and help ease some of the anxiety Ukrainians may have about living in a country far from their homeland.

As the course’s teacher, Nakazawa promised that “finishing this program will mean you’ll master the basics in Ukrainian.”

He then displayed the Ukrainian for “hello” and “thank you” on a screen, and demonstrated how to pronounce them.

In the program, comprising six 90-minute classes that will continue until May 20, the teacher will present greetings and other expressions often used in daily life, as well as descriptions of local culture.

“I will demonstrate how to exchange greetings and other easy-to-use phrases,” Nakazawa said of future classes. “We will then move on to fundamental factors involving grammar and nouns. I will also depict historical and cultural aspects.

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