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This report is taken from PN Review 111, Volume 23 Number 1, September - October 1996.

Visiting Sloviansk Jonathan Packer

Luckily, I can remember - from university days - some lines from The Canterbury Tales. I recite before a packed classroom at the Sloviansk Institute of Management, Business and Law, 'Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote…' I am, for most of them, the first Englishman they have ever seen. The memory will live as long with me as it will with them.

Sloviansk (in Ukrainian - Slavyansk in Russian) is a spa town in eastern Ukraine, the industrial part, not far from Donetsk. The Institute is one of the first private colleges of its kind, catering for students who want to learn foreign languages, English, German, French, as well as studying business or law. There are affiliates in more than 150 places in the former Soviet Union, and the students I meet later during their lessons seem to come from all points north, south, east, and west, and not just Ukraine.

For any English or German teacher - in particular - there are opportunities to live, work, make friends, and have a good time. Private lessons are rather popular, I learn from my friend Alexander - a former teacher at the Institute - who accompanies me on the trip. There is already an interest in 'modern' communicative methods of teaching here, and some support, a British Council office in Kyiv for instance, and the Alliance Française.

The rarity value alone would be enough to carry you through, and the enthusiasm and support ...

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