Looking back at the blog and all of the interviews I have done, I noticed something unusual. There are hardly any interviews with the female students at BridgeEnglish Denver. So, I decided to find one of our female students who has been here for a while and delve deeper into her motivation for coming to America, specifically Bridge, and for studying English. Her name is Anastasia Andriienko and she comes from the far away land of Ukraine and is our only Ukrainian student, at least since I have been here since last year. She came with almost no English except the alphabet and has moved up three levels since her arrival in January. As one of her teachers I can attest that Anastasia or “Nastia” as she likes to be called, has worked hard to achieve what she has so far in English and she just keeps getting better. She will be at BridgeEnglish Denver for a total of six months.
AB: Nastia, tell me more about yourself.
AA: I am from a city called Poltava, which is in the middle of Ukraine. There are about 300,000 people there so it’s not too big. I am 26 years old and I am a psychologist back in my country. I studied at Natimal University of Korolenko. I work for the school system as a psychologist helping students, teachers, parents and faculty with issues and problems that come up within the system. I really like helping people and enjoy my job.
AB: What was your English education in Ukraine?
AA: I hardly had any English at all. I studied German, which has some similarities to English but, other than that, I had no formal English training at all. German and English have the same alphabet. That’s about all I knew.
AB: Why did you choose to come to the USA to study English and more specifically why did you choose Bridge?
N: Well, English is the universal language and I know I will need it for my travels and for a better job in the future. I would like to have some sort of international job. I am not sure what yet but I know I would like to travel and speak English for my job. Maybe it will be in the psychology field. I chose Denver because I actually have some family friends here, so that was very convenient. I knew I was coming here because of them but I didn’t know which school to go to so I got on the internet and searched and found the Bridge website. It had everything that I was looking for in a school and seemed like a nice place to study.
AB: How do you like Colorado?
N: I love it! It is so beautiful here with all of the nature and mountains. I love the green trees and the air is so clear and Denver is very clean. The people here are nice and friendly and I feel really safe going anywhere by myself. There is so much to do here. I have been to many places like the Natural History Museum, the aquarium, Red Rocks and Glenwood Hot Springs. The weather is also great, so much sun!
AB: Had you ever been to the US before?
AA: No, never. I had only been to Mexico and the Dominican Republic and a few places in Europe. I like the USA and I would like to see more of it. Now that I speak better English I feel more confident going to other places and seeing other things in this country.
AB: How has your experience at Bridge been so far?
AA: It has been great. I have made so many friends in my classes and learned so much. The teachers are really great and make class so much fun. It is really special meeting people from all over the world and learning about different cultures and countries. I enjoy all of my classes. I am sad when my friends leave but I know I will keep in touch with them with Facebook and email.
AB: What has been your favorite part about Bridge?
AA: Again, all the friends I have made. I also really like the diversity of the teachers. They all have their own unique way of teaching and they are from different places in the world. There are a few British teachers and a Canadian teacher and obviously American teachers. I like hearing the different accents. The teachers really want us to learn and make classes fun.
AB: When you go back to Ukraine, how do you plan to maintain your new English skills?
AA: Well, I have some friends who speak English, so now I can finally practice with them. I am thinking about going back to university and studying more English or getting a Master’s degree. I am not sure yet. I am just happy that I can finally communicate in English. When I first arrived I was very shy and a little scared but now I feel so much more confident and love to laugh and talk a lot in class. I can speak English!