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Language practice: Seven language clubs of Lviv

The article was originally published in, by Hanna Vlasuyk. Translated by NovaEuropa.

If you’re tired of learning a foreign language from textbooks, or do not want to perform homework in a language course, then the community Exchange Language Club Lviv is for you. Get involved in language clubs to practice English, Spanish, Italian, German, Polish, French and even Ukrainian language in Ukraine, for free.


The idea of organising language clubs where in an informal atmosphere anyone could practice their language skills brought to Ukraine, an American John Carragee. First Language Exchange Club appeared in Kyiv at the beginning of 2009. And in September of the same year – in Lviv.


One of the first founders of Lviv club were Christina Dubnytska, Sergey Sumnikov and Lubomir Baglai.
Today, carrying out of various linguistic activities is a dynamic process, constantly emerging new clubs, and old ones cease to exist. However, all ideas about language gatherings can be found in the group Language Exchange Club Lviv on Facebook. In the same group, anyone can suggest their own
ideas, for example, the content for a meeting. made a selection of current language clubs in the city and talked to their organisers.


Spanish Club




Time: Friday, 19.00
Place: varies
Frequency: weekly


Organiser: Valentyna Zalevska, the last five years worked in an artistic formation Wiz-Art, organising the International Festival of Short Films Wiz-Art. She is also helping with the organisation of Spanish cinema evenings. And she is working on international projects of the NGO “Mosaica”, in particular, the European Voluntary Service projects.


“I am the organiser of Spanish LEC since 2010. Different people come to Spanish meetings. It’s the students of philology of Ivan Franko University, people who are learning Spanish on their own, or for work. The latest are mostly IT companies, at which Spanish courses for employees are getting popular.


Age of participants ranges from the first-year university students of 17 years, and to 55 years old. Among the regular participants, for example, a football coach, a business analyst, a programmer, an engineer, teachers of Italian, Spanish and Estonian languages in Ivan Franko University.


We change the meeting place from time to time, accordingly to the season. In summer – it’s a terrace, in winter – a cozy place with a large table for 10-12 people.


For me, the ideal number of members coming to the meeting, is 7 to 9. Some come in time, will practice for an hour or two, and then others come. So there is a constant rotation, it is fun and dynamic. Each time you have an opportunity to communicate with all people. When the number of participants is larger, then it becomes difficult to move in space and find an interesting companion. If this situation occurs, then you, as the organiser, must rearrange people. “


Italian club




Time: Tuesday, 19:30 – 22:00
Location: mostly Italian pizzerias and restaurants of the city.
Frequency: Twice a month


Organizer: Luigi Moran, a teacher of Italian language and culture in Lviv University.


“Italian meetings are held in Lviv for about three or four years. I’m teaching Italian at the university, so one time I decided to organise such meetings for my students. This idea was inspired in me by people from the Language Exchange Club Lviv. I attended meetings in English and German, and I decided to organise something like that myself.


The meetings mostly attend current and former students who studied Italian at the university, as well as the Italians. If the meeting has 20 people, about 8 of them may be the Italians.”


Ukrainian club




Time: Thursday, 19:00 – 22:00
Location: a restaurant on Prospect Shevchenko, 10, 2nd floor.
Frequency: weekly


Organiser: Stanislav Koval, a graduate of the Faculty of English Philology at Ivan Franko University, a teacher at English language courses.


“The idea of Ukrainian language club is not new. Before me there were already several organisers, as far as I know, one of them went abroad, and the other didn’t have a chance to carry on with the meetings. I was attending English group while studying at the university, and also found out that there are others. Then I began attending French, Italian, and later Ukrainian.


Sometimes I was substituting other organisers, and later became the organiser of Ukrainian meetings. I have been organising them for a year now. At first a very few people were attending. When we had six visitors, it was considered to be a very successful meet up. Now more people know about our meetings. Each time we have 10 to 15 visitors. The last two times were 24 and 22 participants. Those were the Ukrainian philologists from Wroclaw (Poland) who were in Ukraine to practice the language, and their teacher told them about the Ukrainian group.


Visitors are mostly Ukrainians, many of them attend meetings in other languages, and thus are “returning the service” by helping others explore and practice Ukrainian language. Also many Poles come, – the linguists who study at the University of Ivan Franco. There are also some Brits, who for different reasons, learn Ukrainian. Almost each time there are tourists who come only once, but want to learn Ukrainian. We are already well known by some of the waiters in the restaurant at which we’re meeting, so we have certain “privileges”, and there is always a place for everyone.”


English Club




Time: Saturday, 15.00 – 18.00
Frequency: weekly
Location: in warm weather – a terrace cafe near the main building of Lviv University, when cold – the ground floor of the restaurant on the Sichovyh Strilciv street, 12.


Organizer: Luigi Schiavo, an American of Italian origin. In the past – a cardiologist and computer systems engineer. But for 15 years Luigi has been teaching English.


“I organise English meetings in Lviv for about 2.5 years, but the club has been around for more than five years. Every time we get around 25-35 participants. Usually, it’s one or two native English speakers, some foreigners who visit Lviv, and others are Ukrainian students with higher education who want to improve their English.


I live in Lviv for 3 years and 4 months, and I teach English. I was born in a small village in Cilento in southern Italy. When I was 13, I emigrated to the US, where I lived with my aunt in New York. Before coming to Lviv, I lived and worked in the Angolan government in Luanda, capital of Angola (Africa). Before that, I lived in many states in the US, Italy, Hong Kong, Philippines and Indonesia. Lviv – is the coldest city among those where I had to live.”


Polish Club




Time: Monday, 19.00
Frequency: weekly
Location: restaurant on the Sichovyh Strilciv street 12.


Organizers: Anton Kostiuk, Julia Zhehodska, Constantine Serebryannykov, Andriy Krasotkin


Anton Kostiuk: “The club has been in existence for more than five years. It all started in the union of like-minded people who gathered and practiced their knowledge of the Polish language. Who was the first organiser no one even knows. After that, the organiser of the meetings was the Nadia Yakymiv, who somewhat changed the direction of the club – to include people who doesn’t know the language yet, but would like to learn.


Her assistant at that time was Julia Zhehodska, an employee of a Polish school, who eventually became the next organiser. In addition to the meetings at a restaurant, we organise trips to the Carpathian Mountains, castles, and to Poland, and we are happy to consider the ideas of each participant in the club.


In addition, we participate in various events connected with Polish culture, history or religion. Constantine Serebryannykov, and Andrew Krasotkin lead our group in Facebook, establishing contacts with similar clubs not only in Poland but also with the post-Soviet countries.


The core of the group are people who are somehow connected with Poland (have family there, or have Polish roots). Perhaps it is not only our interest, but also a kind of a vocation – to develop Polish culture here, to help people who want to learn Polish.


As for the participants, there are no restrictions. Different people come, and there are permanent and new members. There are students who want to learn the language because they need to use it in the study process. It is also people who need it for work, and those who study it for pleasure to dive into the culture, or just to find friends. We often have native speakers who are either studying, working or staying in Lviv for various volunteer programs.


I was born and live in Ukraine. My grandmother was Polish. I’m also a member of two Polish institutions – Orzeł Biały and Towarzystwo kultury polskiej ziemi lwowskiej – their main activity is the culture of Poland. To help people who want to find a family in Poland or to join Gdańsk university. “


French Club




Time: Monday, 19.00
Frequency: weekly
Location: restaurant on the Brothers Rohatyntsiv street, 4


Organizer: Lena Osokina, psychology and consulting project manager.


“The club already existed previously. I was teaching French language and was attending the meetings.  I became the organiser after my French friend had moved from Lviv. Now I am doing this since 2013. Most members know each other, but always come new people.


People who choose to attend our meetings for the first time should keep in mind that the level of their French should be intermediate or higher. Thus, It’s a club for communication rather than a language learning course.


French meetings are relatively large, each time we have at least 15 people. And these are people who have studied the language here or abroad, few people have studied it here at the Lviv University. We are interested in speaking, communication, new friends. People who come here have entirely different professions and interests, it’s always an opportunity to learn something new.”


German Club




Time: Wednesday, 19:00
Frequency: weekly
Location: a pub at the Lesya Ukrainka street, 15


Organizer: Natalie Michael, a bank employee.


“I take part in such meetings almost from the time of the founding of the club. At one time the German meetings were organised by Christine Dubnytska, and Anton Kobylyansky. And the last 3 years I do it myself.


I studied the language in 2007 in Germany during my stay in the framework of AU-Pair. After coming back to Lviv, my German communication was limited to infrequent correspondence with friends or even less frequently travels to Germany. In short, I had every chance to forget German. When I found out about the club, I immediately joined the participants. The meetings attend those who speak German, or just want to learn it, or not forget it.


Almost always we have participants from German speaking countries (Germany, Austria). These meetings are useful for us, Ukrainians, having the opportunity to practice a foreign language. And for foreigners, who happened to visit our hometown, and now they have a chance to communicate with many people. Recently, we have had quite a lot of participants – 30 people. “


The article was originally published in, by Hanna Vlasuyk. Translated by NovaEuropa.



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