Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Kharkiv, english contest, and more, more, more

Heeey, guys! So sorry I haven't blogged in a while. But the end of April was soooo busy, that today is the first day i've got some peace and quite. And I can't wait to share with you what's happened to me lately! :)

sooo, where do I start? In the beginning of April I won the English language contest in my university and was invited to the all-Ukrainian contest in Kharkiv (the ex-capital of Ukraine). I didn't want to go at first 'cause it's in the middle of the midterms week, so the timing is bad. But, maaan I'm happy I didn't let those foolish reasons persuade me to stay in Sevastopol. That week in Kharkiv was one of the best in my life!

Day 1

This is how it started :) I met a fellow contestant on the train. I was talking on the phone, complaining to a friend about my not knowing how to get to the university, where the contest is held, and how i'm gonna have to take a taxi. So when I hung up that lovely girl approaches me and says she's also a contestant, and doesn't have any idea how to get to KNPU either. Now there were the two of us :)

Surpisingly we got to KNPU all right and pretty quickly. Thanks to wonderfully helpful Kharkiv citizens! Everyone we've asked for directions didn't just show us where to go, but actually took us there. There was a woman who walked us to the subway and wrote down the stop we needed to get off at, a guy who carried my awfully heavy bag (why did I pack so much for a week?)! How amazing is that!

So, we happily arrived at KNPU and registered. After that a teacher took the first group of ten students to the dorm (luckily, we were in that first group) :). The dorm was awfully far away from the main campus. 1,5 hours away!!!!!!!!!! We took one subway line, then transferred to another, and then walked for 20 minutes! Serious flaw of organization! But we made a pretty good joke out of it lately)))

So finally we've arrived at the dorm, did all the paperwork and settled in. By that time the ten of us have become friends already)) as they say, hard times bring people closer, right :)
The neighbourhood we lived in was amazing. Young people everywhere: having a picnic, playing volleyball, soccer, sunbathing, sitting in little outside cafes! A real college city! Unfortunately, Sevastopol's universities don't have that kind of infrastructure :( And it was amazing to live in such atmosphere for a whole week.

The contest itself was supposed to start the next day, so the rest of the day was free and we went sightseeing! Kharkiv is beautiful, gorgeus, striking, spectacular and every other adjective experessing beauty. Those coming to EURO 2012 will be amazed! The wide streets, tall buildings, stunning architecture, huge shopping centers. It's monumental! No wonder it used to be the capital before. Plus, all the renovating they did for EURO! Beautifuuuul! And there are trees everywhere! And the lovely helpful people! Got me thinking of doing my masters here.

fountains, churches, paved streets, tall poplars... that picture pretty much sums up Kharkiv


And here are the wonderful people who I shared all the experience with! What a great group of guys it was! Almost half of the participants were FLEX exchange program alumni, just like I am. So we had some good times recalling our year in the US. There was also that guy Andrew, who kept me company to find smth to eat, when everyone wanted to keep on walking around. My wonderful roommate (the girl I met at the train) Vika! And (I've saved the best for last!) the two best people in the world Vova and Stasya! The three of us have so many jokes together. In three days we've been in Kharkiv we made more merories than most people do in 3 months. There is literally every corner of Kharkiv we can look at and say "Remember, when we...."! I miss those guys so much! Stasya lived in London for 6 years and has got the perfect british accent (smth me and Vova didn't lose a chance to laugh about and tease her with our american pronunciation). We laughed for almost every second of our stay there (except for the times when we at the contest of course)!


We also found the cable way through a city. It was sooooooo high! It went up to 26 meters. Stasya got the following shot of scared me! :)

When we got to the dorm that night, I couldn't feel my legs. We played cards for a couple of hours (of course it was our room where everyone hang out!) and called it a day!

Day 2

We woke up really early and headed for the first day of the contest. We did reading, writing, listening and grammar tasks that day. We were done only at 4pm and very exhausted. After snacking in the cafeteria I grabbed Stasya and Vika and we tried to escape the guys and go to the mall. Well, we didn't succed ;) Vova and Andrew saw us and decided to go with us. ohhh, girls! never go shopping with the guys! they were wining and wining all the time, saying what a waste of time all of it is! They just don't understand!

Well, us girls didn't listen to their foolish inferences, left them in the food court and checked back on them every now and then. That Karavan mall was amazing! Has got all of my favorite shops! I felt over the moon. Here is some of my shopping in Kharkiv:

When we couldn't bear the guys complaining any longer, we left the mall and did some more sightseeing. We went to Sovetskaya square and found that Friends cafe. It's done exactly like the cafe in the TV series! How cool is that! Be sure to check it out if yr in Kharkiv!

Here is the shopping area we went to that day:

 Day 3

We woke up early again and arrived for the speaking task. I've got a pretty good topic for my speaking about the ways employers should motivate their employees. So much to talk about! And I felt pretty confident because speaking is something I generally do the best :)

And after that it was all over. The only thing that remained was to wait for the results. Vova, Stasya and I thought we'd use the last hours in Kharkiv to go to the hustorical museum. We've passed it during our walks but never had the time to go there. Soooo, we took a subway, and started speaking English for some reason. Apparently we didn't even notice it ;) And then that guy comes up to us and offers to show us how to get to the museum (again, how sweet are people in kharkiv!). Well, now there was no going back to russian :) now that a fellow ukrainian thought we were foreignerors :) That's how we tested whether Ukraine is ready for Euro2012. Our verdict is - that particular museum is not ready. Not one exhibit has english eqivalents for the signs, the tickets office's lady doesn't speak English (we used the sign language to explain to her how many tickets we wanted and what expositions we wanted to see), for some reason the admissions price is 1.6 times higher for foreignerors (that was a bummer, considering that we as ukrainian students get a 50% discount, and had to pay 56 hryvnas instead of 21). I hope they'll fix it by June, and if they don't, I feel sorry for those coming to Kharkiv's historical museum.

All in all, we had so much fun, and arrived back to KNPU to see the results. Vova got the third place (how smart is that guy!!! i was thrilled for him), I got 8th place (still not bad. I've got into top10 out of 119 participants) and Stasya has got 9th place. I also got a special recognition award for getting top marks in grammar task (would never think I'd get that award) and Stasya got the award for top marks for Reading section. So, we were pretty happy with the results. And they held a beutiful awards ceremony!

And then it was time to go back to the dorm, pack our bags and go to the rail station. Can't express how sad we were. Here are the three of us on the last day (well, we're smiling, but that's just hiding our emotions :):

I almost cried when I got on that train to Sevastopol :( But since I've arrived I spoke with Vova and Stasya every day and I hope we'll continue to keep in touch!

And this is how a new addition to my magnets collection appeared. Kharkiv is there, right in the middle :)

Hope, you've enjoyed a post!


1 comment:

  1. What wonderful pictures:) It looked amazing! XX