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Professor Elda Garetto: Motivation Has Improved

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Professor Elda Garetto: Motivation Has Improved


University of Milan, Department of Language Mediation and Intercultural Studies

Despite the fact that the Russian Center began operating only a short while ago, much has already been accomplished. To learn about its everyday activities we spoke with its director – Professor Elda Garetto.

— Elda, tell us a little about what has already been done at the center in this short period of time?

— From February to May communications courses for A1 students were held here. Right now we are hold courses for those who wish to the TORFL [Test of Russian as a Foreign Language]. We regularly host screenings of films by Russian directors. On May 9 in cooperation with the Association of Russian Compatriots in Italy “Alye Parusa” we organized an open lesson titles “War and Peace: May 9 – Victory Day”. During the lecture a presentation was made of the book Shards of Memory, published by “Alye Parusa”.

— How are you preparing for Pushkin Day at the Russian Center?

— I would add that this is not only Pushkin Day in Russia but also Russian Language Day. So we have several initiatives. On June 6 we will open two virtual exhibitions: a vernissage of drawings by the pupils of the academy of the Association of Russian Compatriots in Italy on the motifs of Pushkin’s tales and the publication of creative works of student of the University of Milan. We are also preparing and very interesting program with our colleague Professor Lyudmila Shapalova and Professor Laura Rossi.

— During the summer vacation it is difficult to organize the Russian Center’s work. Does this mean that the center will shut down for a while?

— Of course, it is difficult to gather students in the summer, but we found a solution to the situation – the internet. We have our own Facebook page where we regularly publish information about Russian holidays and the center’s news. For Russia Day we are preparing a knowledge contest “How Well Do You Know Russia.” The contest conditions will be published on the internet and anyone who wants to can participate. The results will be announced in September, and that when we will present the winners with pleasant prizes.

— What other initiatives connected to what is going on in Italy does the Russian Center have?

— In November in Milan a series of events will be held under the Citybook banner, and we will be taking a very active part.

— I know that you have worked for many years with students studying Russian. Has anything changed with regard to the attitude of Italian students toward the Russian language?

— Without question students now have greater motivation. The schools of the University of Milan have a substantial number of students who see a connection in their future life with the Russian language. Many of them want to work in Russia, which is why they need to receive a certificate. Since 2002 we have worked closely with the Pushkin State Institute of the Russian Language – teachers from Moscow travel here to administer exams. Right now thanks to the Russkiy Mir Foundation efforts have become more energetic. From February to June courses are held to prepare for certification for the levels A1, B1 and B2. The exams will be held on June 26-27.

— Right now, when there is such a depressed situation on the labor market, what does your center offer? Can your graduates find work after finishing the university?

— We are constantly thinking about what kinds of additional instruments we can give our graduates to help them find their place in life. During the next academic year for our master’s students we are planning a very interesting course on the translation of and creation of film subtitles, for which we have requested the support of the Russkiy Mir Foundation. The students will work with Russian films, the films which are submitted to Italian film festivals. So we are not depressed – there’s a lot of work to do.

Oxana Benjari,
University of Milan


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