Russian educator visits Dothan
A Russian educator got a taste of Southern cuisine and local students got a taste of Russian culture at a lecture Wednesday at Dothan Technology Center.
Victoria Lukyanova, who works as a foreign language instructor and manager of tour guides in St. Petersburg, Russia, has visited a number of Dothan City Schools recently and taught lessons on Russian art and culture.
Lukyanova spoke to high school students from Dothan High School and Northview High School on Wednesday, teaching them about Russian geography, language, art, history and culture.
One interesting parallel between U.S. and Russian history Lukyanova pointed out was the use of the log cabin. Lukyanova said that log cabins were popular in Russia's past and remain popular today. Lukyanova showed pictures of historical log cabins and explained how in some cabins sleeping areas were located near the stove to help folks in the cabin take advantage of the stove's heat in the cold winter months.
Lukyanova has also visited several of the city's elementary schools and made presentations on the famed composer Sergei Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf," among other topics.
Lukyanova said in an interview Wednesday that this was her first visit to the U.S., an opportunity she never thought was possible growing up during the days of the Cold War.
"There's no more Iron Curtain," she said. "People can travel a lot more - go see Russia, go see more of the world."
Lukyanova said her visit wasn't entirely free of culture shock. Lukyanova said she was initially baffled by the lack of pedestrian traffic in the streets, as back in St. Petersburg she's used to seeing everyone walking instead of driving.
Lukyanova said she was disappointed that art education is not better funded in the local schools. Lukyanova said parent volunteer programs needed additional support.
"I don't think it's enough," she said. "It must be a specialized program created by specialists for elementary students. It's important for all students, not just high school students, to have drawing and painting, at least two lessons per week."
Tara Hooks, DTC's culinary program instructor, had her students prepared Southern cuisine for Lukyanova Wednesday and also had them whip up some Russian appetizers for after her lecture.
"I think it's neat people get to see her," Hooks said. "We need more culture in Dothan, it's nice."