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Fifth graders learn from Russian exchange students

Posted Date: 02/01/2019

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Fifth graders at Chanute Elementary learned there are many similarities and some interesting differences between how they live in the United States and Russia. Foreign exchange students Sveta Fefelova and Victoria Janiyarova, who are attending Neosho County Community College, quizzed the students’ about their perceptions and then shared information about growing up in Russia.victoria talks about cold in russia

Using a map, they showed that Russia is on the other side of the globe from the United States, but that it is so large that it stretches to within 55 miles of the western tip of Alaska. Still, they have “almost twice less people,” Fefelova said.

Not everyone who lives there are Russian. There are 14 different countries that share borders with Russia.

“Not everyone is the same,” Janiyarova said. “We have a lot of nationalities living in Russia. You can meet a lot of different people and a lot of cultures.”

The girls asked if the fifth graders thought it was cold in Russia.

“You’re right,” Janiyarova said. “It’s freezing,” Fefelova added.

“I’m from Siberia,” Janiyarova added, “where it can get down to 50-degrees below zero.  It’s beautiful but it’s cold.”

The students were surprised to learn and see that Russians do go swimming in the snow and even jump into ice holes, but only after preparing for it all year. One reason is because the people are very fond of saunas and after they get hot from the sauna, they run outside and jump into the snow, Fefelova explained.

The girls showed a photo of Russian children in dresses and trousers and asked if the CES students thought the children dressed that way when they went to school.

“Usually students wear their official clothing in elementary and (even) in high school,” Fefelova said. “It doesn’t matter.” In fact they wear the same clothing to go shopping or go to the movies, she added. They would never go out in sweats.students play russian game

A fifth grader asked what else is different about school.

The students are not allowed to eat in school and can only drink water. They also would never get out of their seat without raising their hand or asking permission.

“The way you stand in line,” Fefelova said. “We don’t stand that far away from each other,” and she ran over to stand just inches behind teacher Mendy Burnett to prove her point.

They do like to play games, though, and as Fefelova gave directions Janiyarova demonstrated how Russian children play Rucheek (stream).

Then all the classes formed two lines of students whose hands touched overhead. An extra student starts at the back and runs under the arms, through the line, grabbing someone else as their partner along the way. The new extra person follows to the front and then runs to the back of the line and starts the process over. The goal is to see how many new pairs of partners can be formed at the front of the line within a given time frame.