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I. Babushchak about America
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Ivan Babushchak: «Our stereotypes about America are destroyed...»

На фоні Капітолію
Our country launched the program "Open World” since 2003. Its purpose is to strengthen cooperation between Ukraine and the United States. Also, it provides the opportunity to meet with foreign colleagues, share experiences and interesting ideas for professionals working in various fields. "Open World” has annual funding from the U.S. Congress.

Its purpose is to provide assistance to young employees, who have already demonstrated strong leadership skills and interest in assimilation of experience and who is eager to support professional and personal contacts with foreigners after returning home. This year there were 50 Ukrainian specialists, who had lucky opportunity to see what usual American life is. Among them was Ivan Babushchak, the head of Uzhgorod National University Department of journalism media-studio. So, after his returning we decided to ask him about life overseas.

  • Ivan Ivanovich, can you tell us something about the program "Open World” in America?
– We had 10 days to explore this country. During first 2 days we worked in Washington DC. Because of the pre-election period in the USA we had the introductory lectures about the American Constitution and political system of the country. Also, during our stay in US capital we had the unique opportunity to meet the assistant of the Senator from the state of Kansas who tell us about the main features of the state, the education system and development of the economy.

Besides, at the end of our stay in DC our counterpart had organized for us tour to the Library of Congress, the Botanic Gardens and other historical places in US capital. I must say that it’s a beautiful city, not typical to the rest of America, with splendid European architecture, nice streets and unpretentious logos of global organizations.

After our stay in Washington we moved to Kansas. We were living in American families till the end of the project. This provides us with good opportunity to communicate with each other, to knew something new about their lives from inside.

"West Wichita Rotary Club", the receiving party, is worldwide association of professionals and businessmen, which carry out humanitarian projects, helped us to stay in USA.
  • What is interesting in the state of Kansas?
На заводі «Сесна»
– We stayed in Wichita city - the world center of aircraft industry, so it has a lot of educational institutions, which trained skilled workers. Also, Wichita has a nice cultural face: various monuments, beautiful sculptures are erected here. For example, it’s unusual to see girl playing hopscotch on sidewalk. By the way, I was surprised to get knew that Wichita was the place where the electric guitar sounded for the first time. So, there is an interesting museum, which includes a collection of electric guitars. I’ve remembered also the tour on the factory "Cessna” (Aircraft Company. - Auth.). We were incredibly lucky, because not every day there is an opportunity to sit in an airplane, which costs about $ 30 million. The company’s booth are visited only by billionaires. The interesting thing is that I met native Indians in Wichita, and they willingly took pictures with me.

    • Did you like Americans?

– I can say that they are very kind people. When our team just arrived in Wichita airport we were greeted with flowers and it was very nice, because you immediately feel welcomed. After settling in different families, I got to Paul Blissetand, we had a very good time there. We find out that we have common interests, so I was never bored. Americans are very frank and they don’t suffer from complexes. Taking a walk, you can always find someone you can ask to help you with any question. For example, once we were staying in the street and couldn’t find the way to the White House. But one guy came and willingly offered help to us. Of course, we started to talk with him and he told us, that his grandma was born in Odessa and knew where Ukraine is (laughing - Auth.). So, its very pleasant to communicate with Americans.
  • What do you know about educational institutions in the U.S.?
У студії школи, де створюють програми для навчання
– The purpose of my staying in U.S. was to learn functioning of the student media. I was extremely impressed by media software available in schools, colleges and universities. There are specially equipped gyms in schools, so they have a possibility to lead direct reports during sporting events. Can you imagine this? Matches are broadcasted by local TV & student radio stations. It was funny to notice how kids were trying to attract attention in every possible way. There are television studios in schools, which help students to understand chemistry, physics and other disciplines. All student media that I’ve seen have access to cable networks. Regarding education - universities and schools in the U.S. constantly monitor the labor market. If they see that demand for workers in some fields is reduced, after few months of arranged retraining they open new specialty to produce graduates who’ll be absolutely secured employment in the future. So, educational institutions train professionals, to whom workplaces already exists.
  • Who is a sponsor of these various activities and learning process?
– As usual, businessmen allocate money for their community. For example, we visited the so-called poor part of the city, where many immigrants live. People don’t know the language, so some time ago there was the reason for the high crime level. Also there are many single mothers who have to work hard, so they don’t have enough time to take care of their children. Americans have analyzed the situation and organized the extended day school, financed by the local community. And what most pleases – there is no advertising or commercials for their business there. Good deeds aren’t for fame. All this was organized with only intension to ensure that all children will be occupied by visiting hobby groups, doing their homework etc. Regarding universities you need to know that if someone cannot pay the tuition, he can safely ask university governing body for help. It keeps track of household income and compensates disparity. In addition, university also takes into account the activity of student. Is he an athlete or he is playing in an orchestra or engaged in other social activities - in the U.S. society any activity of the youth is appreciated.
  • What are three things do you remember about America most of all and why?
Кейс Вест - показав студентські медіа
– May be, the first one is the work of the community. People are working in order to improve the quality of life in their city. The second one is their addiction to sport activities. Americans actively supports a healthy lifestyle: there can be up to 10 large sites and about 5 stadiums in university. And the third one, the one I’ll never forget, is their willingness to learn. Students do a part of their work in extracurricular time. Just in the first day after the elections we visited Kansas State University - Wichita State University. We were surprised that students have been composing newspaper until four AM, and the next day it was published with the name of the winner of the election campaign 2012. Now you understand: when I talk about perseverance and hard work of American children - it's true! And most importantly, they have great fun creating a media product. Their goal is to have a good resume, which will help them to have a good job in the future.

    • Did you have funny things happen to you during the trip?

На фотосесії в магазині
– Of course, we have. Our group suffered from lack of espresso. During the one of the last meetings we were too tired because of tight schedule. I asked the waitress to bring me some coffee, drink it and repeated my order in a few minutes. After the fifth portion she asked if everything is ok with me (laughs – Auth.).

A more pleasant surprise was that British actress Judi Dench was in front of us in line in the airport. We wanted to take a photo, but our plan had failed.
  • What can you say in conclusion?
– In America everything was the best! I am particularly indebted to Uzhgorod Rotary Club – the organization, which nominated us for this trip. Of course, many thanks to Rotarians of West Wichita, where we stayed – they organized an incredible program: very interesting, intense and sometimes even difficult. Americans maximally took into account all our wishes. Our stereotypes about this country now are destroyed. There live wonderful people with good sense of humor and positive perception of life. I want to visit hospitable Americans again and hope that this wasn’t my last visit to the United States.
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