STARTALK Russian language program at UCF is a three-week intensive language program with a mission to popularize critical need foreign languages. The University of Central Florida has successfully hosted the Russian program since 2015 and has become well-known in the Orlando community. This year STARTALK at UCF had a brand new addition: now it is offered not only in Russian but also in Arabic. 


Every year, STARTALK brings together participants from various backgrounds, who are looking to practice their language skills. The program is offered for different levels of proficiencies: from novice to intermediate. In a short span of three weeks, participants strengthen conversational skills in the morning and expand their knowledge of rich and diverse Russian culture in the afternoon. From traditional food to games and cultural presentations, everyone has a chance to see, hear, and taste Russia.

Mariana, beginner group: “Today I learned different ways of introducing myself and greeting other people. I practiced writing my name and using the Russian alphabet. The most memorable part was interacting with other students – it really made me feel like I was learning Russian!”

Today for lunch, participants savored Самса (Samosa), a traditional savory pastry most commonly


filled with meat and onions. The pastry is most often baked, and almost never fried. They are popularly sold as hot snacks by street vendors.


Rachel, beginner group: “I really liked самса. The flavor of the pastry was really interesting – it was nothing like I have ever had before!”


Салат Оливье


Participants also enjoyed Салат Оливье (Olivier Salad), that is traditionally eaten during Новый Год ( New Year’s) celebration. The salad is made with a variety of vegetables, like potatoes, carrots, and pickles, as well as chicken or sometimes ham or bologna sausage. 




We asked a student from the intermediate group about their first impressions of and future expectations for the program:

William, intermediate group: “I really enjoyed the immersive experience. I was talking in Russian the whole time! It made me feel like Russian was more accessible language. I really hope to master the basics to communicate my ideas effectively, even if I still make some errors.”

What did you like best about the first day of the program? Leave a comment below or on our social media using #STARTALK_UCF_2019 


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