Teaching and Travelling in Ukraine

From February to July 2001, Meg and I lived in Ternopil, Ukraine with support from a Fulbright lectureship.  She taught ESL and I taught computer science at the Institutute for Computing and Information Technologies (ICIT) at the Ternopil Academy of National Economy (TANE).  The following photos show some of this extraordinary experience.
Ternopil, Ukraine
Ukraine has suffered greatly since the end of the Soviet Union in 1991.  Below are some sobering comparisons that characterized the severe economic conditions under which the Ukrainian people now live.
We did most of our shopping in the small shops in Victory Square, which was next door to where we lived at the Academy.  The apartment building in the background is a "standard" Soviet design.
victory square
The Institute where we taught has an identical 5-story design.  Note the absence of exit doors - the one exit door is in the rear of the building.

Here is the rear of the building, with Ukrainian students waiting between classes.

Here is a computer lab.  Technology is scarce in general, but students work hard and they carry the hope that conditions will improve.  All classrooms and labs have bars on their doors, and there is a lot of concern for security in general.

Here is a group of students I taught.  They were mostly 4th year undergraduates and a few graduate students in computer science.  Classrooms were sparsely equipped, but students were very bright and highly motivated.

We visited elementary schools while we were in Ternopil.  The group below is a 5th grade class.  My host Anatoly Sachenko is standing at the rear of this class on the right, and his daughter Vera is a member of this class.  Meg is standing in the rear toward the left.

We made many friends while we were living in Ternopil, many of who were graduate students and teachers.  They invited us to many events - birthday celebrations, Easter family gatherings, faculty meeting, and church services.  Picnics like the one below were common.


Since 1991, Ukrainians have experienced a religious revival.  On Sunday mornings, so many people attend the Orthodox cathedrals that loud speakers broadcast the liturgy into the square.  The crowd below is typical, and the liturgies were beautifully sung by the people from memory.

L'viv is a city about 2 hours drive from Ternopil.  The Pope visited L'viv in the summer of 2001.  The cathedral below was being renovated in preparation for the Pope's visit.


There are many cathedrals in Kiev, and they have been beautifully restored.

Shevshenko is a Ukrainian hero, not only a world-class scholar but also one of the first to advocate for Ukrainian independence in the 19th century.

At the end of our time in Ukraine, we participated in an international workshop at a beautiful resort on the tip of the Crimean Peninsula.  The workshop was organized by my host, Anatoly Sachenko, and was attended by computer scientists from many nations - Russia, Greece, Spain, Italy, the UK, Poland, the US, and many others.  This was a very special time - we were sad to leave Ukraine and the many friends we had made there.