Dreams Come True

Washington Travel Blog

 › entry 1 of 10 › view all entries
We were lucky to visit the historical rooms of the White House

I am thankful to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State and the American Councils for International Education for organizing that wonderful experience for us. We, a group of 30 teachers from Ukraine, national winners of the US-Ukraine “Partners in Education” teachers exchange program, spent six weeks in the US. It was an "all-inclusive" trip, as it were.

First of all, we, a group of 30 Ukrainian educators from three different regions of Ukraine and a group of 30 Russian educators from three regions of Russia, attended a week-long orientation seminar at Governor's House Hotel in Washington D.C. After the seminar, the Ukrainian educators group was split into three small groups.

Visiting the Library of the Congress
The group of ten teachers from Luhansk region went to the state of Wisconsin, where we had our month-long internship.

“To assist in the development of friendly, sympathetic and peaceful relations between the United States and other countries by fostering mutual understanding… Mutual understanding is of vital importance in an increasingly interdependent world.”   (From “Parnters in Education” participant schedule of events, 1999).

I had my internship at Notre Dame Academy in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  My colleagues, the faculty members and staff at NDA, warmly welcomed me at this private Catholic school. I got a temporary school e-mail address as all my colleagues had.

Our stay in Milwaukee was great!
My school email address was in copy of numerous interesting messages and advertisements of the faculty. No special time-consuming sittings or meetings like those that we had in Ukraine – everything went  via electronic mail! You only had to open your mailbox and read all the mail you get during the day. Isn’t that convenient!

Before my trip to the United States, I had a very vague idea of the Internet and computers in general. Before coming to our schools, we stayed in De Pere, WI, where had seminars and lectures at St.Norbert College. Computer classes were also on the program. These classes helped me overcome my awkwardness in the work with computers and with Internet. I managed to find many interesting and useful websites that complemented the big lists of education sites we received at our Internet classes.

Near Washington National Cathedral

Thanks to my stay in the United States and assistance of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States and the American Councils for International Education, I improved my computer skills. I discovered that the Internet was a mighty source of inspiration, a wealth of information and joy for us. 

The US-Ukraine “Partners in Education” teachers exchange program was a wonderful project. It met the goals of citizenship education both in Ukraine and abroad. It encouraged us to forster our students' active attitude to their communities and studies.

We realized more and more that students were active citizens and citizenship was not learned from books by studying flow charts and memorizing paragraphs in civics, but from our daily interactions.

Our lunch at Paper Valley Hotel in Appleton

We managed to do a lot of great things during our stay in Washington D.C.:

  1. Historical Tours and Sightseeing in Washington, D.C. and Virginia.
  2. Visits to the National Mall and Smithsonian museums;
  3. Historical tour of Washington, D.C.;
  4. Tour of the White House;
  5. Visit to the Library of Congress;
  6. Visit to the Senate Gallery;
  7. Visit to the Capitol building, including the rotunda and the old Supreme Court;
  8. Attendance of the performance of "Spirit" - A Journey in Dance, Drums and Song, and dances Native American culture (at the the National Theater).

It was great to see how much attention people pay to their national parks and how beautiful those parks were!

I was in some of Wisconsin's places near Lake Michigan and enjoyed the views and the surroundings.

A word of thanks from us at the teachers' conference at Paper Valley Hotel in Appleton
Forests in the United States, as I saw them in Wisconsin, are just marvelous! There are places such as Door County where time seems to stand still.

I stayed in a family of teachers in Green Bay. Our group visited Madison, Appleton, Door County (a very popular resort), Milwaukee and Chicago.

Our group was fortunate because we could allow some time to visit Chicago, Milwaukee and Green Bay, WI, during our stay there.

Among my fondest memories I would like to mention the following:

  1. Dining at a Mexican restaurant. "Los Banditos" mexican restaurant, Green Bay, Wisconsin, was splendid! I enjoyed what they call the atmosphere of a Mexican dwelling. The waiters were very helpful and the prices were reasonable. Our dinner at "Pedro's" Restaurant in Madison brought the Mexican cuisine still closer to me.
    NDA forever!
  2. A month-long stay in my host family in Green Bay, WI;
  3. Meeting American students and colleagues at my host school and at numerous schools we visited;
  4. Visiting the main sights of several towns and cities.
  5. Going to the IMAX Dome Theater in Chicago and IMAX Dome Theater in Milwaukee;
  6. Some shopping in Michigan Avenue in Chicago;
  7. Traveling by the Metrorail System in Washington D.C.;
  8. Walking along Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C. ;
  9. Having dinner at a Ponderossa Restaurant;
  10. Staying at my first hotel in the United States: "The Governor's House" at 1615 Rhode Island Avenue, Washington D.C.;
  11. Staying at "Radisson Hotel" in Washington D.C., where we had our debriefing in the fall of 1999;
  12. Staying at "Congress Plaza Hotel", Chicago, Il,  where we stayed for two nights during our Chicago tour in 1999;
  13. Staying at "Paper Valley Hotel" in Appleton where we had our teachers' conference.
    Our group in Milwaukee

My school and I benefited from my participation in “Partners in Education” program. I brought a lot of books, booklets and posters for my students. I was invited to many schools of Luhansk as a guest speaker and shared my experience and knowledge with my colleagues and their students. Two American exchange teachers arrived to Luhansk in 2000 and visited my school and other educational estrablishments in the city.

Thanks to the grant received in the United States, I could buy a computer on coming back home and started working on the Internet! I created a decent web site of my school in English and received a merit certificate for it afterwards. 

My school’s website was administered by my school’s the English Club members. Our presentation was unique within our community at that time since there were very few school web sites in Luhansk region published in English.

Our group in Milwaukee
We had it registered at the city web site center.

People in our community - former lyceum students, teachers, students and their parents- as well as people around the world learned many new things through our pages: our clubs, timetable, interests, self-governance, etc. They learn about our web site from us, from Yahoo and Excite search engines and from Luhansk search engines. They were mostly impressed by such pages as: "Ukraine and Us", "Pen Pals", "English Club", and by the fact that each grade of our lyceum had its own page. Since I was a member of "VirtualTourist.com", I added our school’s website to his VT page as an external homepage, which increased traffic feedback to the school’s website. We received some feedback from several VT members. One of them, Sally from Naperville, Il, was so kind as to give us an interview in our "Medical Express" newspaper (issue #2, February 2003).

Our group in Chicago
We exchanged e-mail messages with some students from Notre Dame Academy, Green Bay , WI. The feedback we received was highly positive and inspiring. No one was dissatisfied with the content and design of our web site. Everybody thanked us for "opening a window on our world". "Thank you for your friendship that makes the world better" – those were the great words that we received.

In addition, we received a visitor as an outcome of our Internet contacts. It was Robert from Florida who came to Luhansk on business in the fall of 2002. Before coming to Luhansk, he had done a lot of research on Luhansk and found our page on the Internet, contacted me and agreed to be a guest speaker at our school.

There were several other foreigners who had found our web site on the Internet prior to arriving to Luhansk, contacted me and then visited us at our high school:  Colin from Prestwick, Scotland; James from Bellingham, Washington, USA, and others.

I was invited to School 17 in Luhansk as a guest speaker upon coming back from the US
They appreciated the work we were doing and told us they were positively impressed. 

I am very thankful to the ACIE - the American Councils for International Education - for being so thoughtful and helpful throughout the program. Thanks a lot!

It was very kind of the ACIE to invite us to that wonderful internship in the US!

Victor, congrats on your featured travel blog. Very interesting story here.
Posted on: Jun 01, 2017
Paulovic says:
Congrats on being featured today!
Posted on: Jun 01, 2017
starship1 says:
What a great review of your time spent in the US! I once got to travel to Italy for work and it was a fantastic experience.
Posted on: May 15, 2017
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
We were lucky to visit the histori…
We were lucky to visit the histor…
Visiting the Library of the Congre…
Visiting the Library of the Congr…
Our stay in Milwaukee was great!
Our stay in Milwaukee was great!
Near Washington National Cathedral
Near Washington National Cathedral
Our lunch at Paper Valley Hotel in…
Our lunch at Paper Valley Hotel i…
A word of thanks from us at the te…
A word of thanks from us at the t…
NDA forever!
NDA forever!
Our group in Milwaukee
Our group in Milwaukee
Our group in Milwaukee
Our group in Milwaukee
Our group in Chicago
Our group in Chicago
I was invited to School 17 in Luha…
I was invited to School 17 in Luh…