Postcard from Maria Talalaievska


Our school received a letter from our student Maria Talalaievska – winner of the program FLEX. Future Leaders Exchange Program (FLEX) – a program for secondary schools in ten countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) – Eurasia, funded by the United States. The program offers students scholarships that allow them to travel to the United States to study at the American school for one academic year and reside in the American host family.

FLEX main goal is to improve mutual understanding between countries and allowing young people to watch the Eurasian American political system and to be a part of it. FLEX operates in Ukraine since 1993. Each year about 300 finalists travel to the United States. The contest is the American Councils for International Education and the Ministry of Education of Ukraine.

The winner this year was our 11-student class Talalaievska Maria, who is studying in Heytersburh, Maryland.

We hope Maria will continue to inform our staff about their stay in the school and share her impressions of studying with American students.

Postcard from Maria Talalaievska

My first “hello” from America falls on the eighth day of my stay here. Already a week has passed, and even hard to believe. My home for the current academic year was a small town Heytersburh / Gaithersburg (Montgomery County, Maryland) is approximately 40 kilometers from Washington. Now there live about 60 thousand people.

The town is very small, the area below the Cherkasy almost tripled. Buildings in it too tiny and sometimes even seem fabulous.

Life here is different from what was in the Ukraine, but not dramatically. Only from the outside it looks so unusual and new. People here are very friendly and love to cuddle. Everyone in the community knows each other, so it is very interested in those we are coming from.

Already this week, I took part in several improbable events. I was on the evening of dance for people with disabilities (Down syndrome type disorder and autism), held in a nearby town. It is nice that the community pays much attention to these people, helping them, gathers them together, and makes such measures. Moreover, it was all completely free of charge and charitable funds for the community. I would like to believe that Ukraine is related to people with special needs will also be very common. Besides, I was at a charity dinner where the community discussed charities and collected funds for training for those who in the future wants to become a priest, because the price of tuition up to 40 thousand dollars a year.

I was very lucky with the host family, because they are all sympathetic and optimistic. Unusually for me is that now I have three older sisters and brother, but a great experience. Thanks to the host family, I have visited many places in our state and in the capital. Recently I traveled to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and found out that they are preparing for the great Ukrainian Festival. Employees invited us to help them with the preparations that should be very interesting.

Classes at the school start in August thirty-first, because so far I have time to get used to everything. I have already convinced that life here will never be boring.

Best regards

Maria Talalaievska