The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Ukrainian student hosts teach-in on Ukraine

Teach-in sponsored by International Education Week
Photo by Cade Fisher
The teach-in was hosted in room 2927 in Centennial Hall for students, staff and faculty to attend.

As a part of International Education Week, a teach-in was held from 5-6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 15 to discuss the country of Ukraine and the war between Ukraine and Russia.

According to the United Nations, Russia launched a military offensive on Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, and there has been an ongoing conflict ever since.

The event on campus was titled “Teach-In on Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom and Democracy” and was hosted by Anna Kovalchuk, a third-year economics student from Odesa, Ukraine. She is also a Global Democracy Ambassador through the Institute of International Education.

Kovalchuk has given this teach-in before at the University of Arkansas, sharing information about Ukraine’s culture and the current state of her hometown.

Story continues below advertisement

“The whole idea is about sharing my experience and sharing the experience from people from my country,” Kovalchuk said. “To build this cultural bridge between those (Ukraine and the U.S.) countries.”

The teach-in began with pizza offered to all of the attendees. According to Kovalchuk, originally there was planned to be traditional, homemade Ukrainian food for people to try, but the person who was set to make the food had a personal emergency and was unable to.

The presentation itself started with a history of Ukraine, discussing the country’s flag and the flag’s origin, sharing some English names as they would be written in Ukrainian and famous figures who are Ukrainian. 

Kovalchuk continued the presentation with more of the country’s history, including slides to share the Independence Day of Ukraine, presidential history and historical events over the past few decades.

The rest of the presentation consisted of a firsthand account from Kovalchuk from spring 2022. The entirety of the presentation was given from the perspective of Kovalchuk and her personal experience.

Kovalchuk said she had woken up at 5 a.m. in late April to her parents watching the television. She said that bombs had gone off in her city. 

From there, Kovalchuk said she attempted to leave with her family to Bulgaria but was not able to cross the border. A few months later her family tried again and her mother, sister and she left for Bulgaria.

After a while, Kovalchuk said that her family went back to Ukraine, where her family currently resides. Kovalchuk then moved to Austria in the fall of 2022 for an exchange semester.

“Why did we come back? Because sometimes it’s harder to be away from the danger because it’s your home. Every one of us had their own lives there,” Kovalchuk said.

In January, Kovalchuk transferred to UW-Eau Claire to continue studying for a bachelor’s degree in economics.

According to her LinkedIn, Kovalchuk also attended the University of Arkansas for a summer semester to continue studying economics and business administration and management.

Kovalchuk then ended the hour-long presentation and spent the other 30 minutes of the teach-in hosting a Q&A for attendees. Those who raised their hands asked Kovalchuk about her opinions on the situation, more of Ukraine’s history, Ukrainian artists and public opinion in Ukraine.

Heather Fielding, the director of the UW-Eau Claire Honors Program and previous Fulbright Scholar to Ukraine, helped organize this event and acted as a standby speaker during the event.

“It’s easy to think that this is something that is happening half a world away, it doesn’t really affect us, but it does,” Fielding said. “The world is interconnected. Ukraine is connected to our campus.”

Fisher can be reached at [email protected]

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Spectator intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. The Spectator does not allow anonymous comments and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Spectator Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *