Jamie Cluck is ready to embrace his passion while representing East Central University in the process.
The senior from Ada has the opportunity, as part of ECU’s Global Education Department, to study abroad, particularly the Russian language, at Kiev National Linguistic University in Kiev, Ukraine.
Cluck left Sept. 3 and will spend an entire semester immersed in the Russian language as well as the culture while studying at one of several sister institutions of ECU.
“I will be taking intense Russian language courses. It’s an immersive approach,” said Cluck. “Languages are my passion and this is getting my foot in the door to really learn one.”
Through Cluck’s inquisitive mind, he doesn’t just want to learn the language but to soak in the culture which he believes goes hand-in-hand.
“You can’t have understanding of a language without knowing the culture or vice versa,” Cluck said. “I want to promote interaction between countries and take a deeper look at their culture.”
This will actually be Cluck’s second trip to Kiev. He spent 10 days there through an ECU Global Education trip. However, this trip will include a three-month plus stay and a semester of college credits.
During that previous trip, Cluck was able to form friendships.
“It will be exciting to re-connect with friends from Ukraine and Russia,” said Cluck.
Cluck’s journey will be twofold as he will serve as an ambassador for ECU as well as help continue a valued partnership between the two universities.
“I want to promote East Central and the exchange program as well,” Cluck said. “You could say that I’m going to recruit (future) ECU students as well. I’m super-excited.”
Dr. Mara Sukholutskaya, director of the ECU Global Education Department, says Cluck will not only gain a valuable learning experience through the trip, but will bring something to Kiev that the campus is not accustomed to.
Cluck’s experiences as an American college student will open the doors to more ideas. For instance, Cluck has served and participated in numerous activities and clubs at ECU. He has participated in astronomy, physics and biology clubs; was voted homecoming king; served in the international student organizations and is part of the Baptist Student Union. He also spent some time on the ECU varsity tennis team.
Student clubs and associations are not typical for that part of the world, according to Sukholutskaya.
“Languages give insight to culture. We all can enrich each other and become more well-rounded people,” Sukholutskaya said.