February 28, 2024

Associate Professor of Russian Dr. Kourova, along with her former students, Irina Pidberejna and Michelle Verbitskaya, delivered a captivating presentation on “How Words Shape People: Business Russian Through Proverbs” at the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages conference in Las Vegas. The presentation delved into the significant impact of language on cultural and business practices. Dr. Kourova and her team have been closely associated with the STARTALK grant for nearly ten years, and in the past two years, they have developed a unique curriculum to enhance intermediate to advanced Russian language learners. This innovative curriculum is centered on the wisdom of Russian proverbs and introduces a fresh pedagogical approach titled “Nurturing Cross-Cultural Competence of Russian Language Learners Through Multi-Modal Projects.” The approach aims to enrich learners’ understanding by nurturing a deep appreciation for cross-cultural nuances through diverse and engaging projects.

STARTALK, a federal grant program funded by the National Security Agency’s National Cryptologic University, provides language training to meet national security and defense priorities. Two years of Zoom-intensive language and culture classes with three weeks of face-to-face residential camp at UCF is free to high school students, UCF students, and university and high school students around the country.