Russians, Far but Close and Warm at CNU
By Han Su-yeon, Tribune Reporter
Russia, the biggest country in the world, the home of Lenin, Stalin, Dostoevski, Tolstoy, the Bolshoi Ballet, a Socialist revolution and vodka. It seemed far and strange but soon became closer when I met two charming Russians, a mother and a daughter. Katyshevtseva Elena, an associate professor at the Izhevsk State Technical University in Russia, visited Chonnam National University (CNU) to teach History of Russia from June 23rd to July 18th during the first-term of the International Summer Session (ISS) in 2011. Her daughter, Katyshevtseva Liudmila (Sophomore, Dept. of Business Administration) has been staying in Korea for about three years. During ISS, she was helping her mother with the lecture and also taking the course. They enjoyed themselves here in Gwangju and also fell in love with Korea!
I asked Professor Elena what made her come to teach at CNU during the hot summer. “My special reason is connected with my great love of Korea in general, because of its very deep and great cultural traditions,” she answered. She especially loved Gwangju and Jeollanam-do, and also admired CNU for its long-held tradition, high-level of education, and great knowledge shared by CNU professors. Above all, her precious daughter, Liudmila, was living here as an exchange student at CNU. She had lived in Daegu for half a year. At that time, she heard about CNU from her Korean friends so now she is here. I asked her how she felt about spending summer in Korea with her mother. “I really like it, because I have lived so far from my home. I do not have a chance to hear a lot about Russia here,” said Liudmila, enjoying their time together.
They also enjoyed eating Korean food such as gimbap, bibimbap, jjimdalk, and so on. Professor Elena told me an especially interesting story about her lecture and bibimbap, one of Korean traditional foods. “When I was thinking about my first lecture, I did not know where I should start. One day, I ate bibimbap, and after that, I decided that I should begin from a mixed form of Russian history like bibimbap.” I asked them what they wanted to tell CNUians about Russian history. “Russian history is very unique and special. If you are a historian, it would be so interesting to learn about it,” said Liudmila. “I think that it is urgent to learn Russian history, maybe for everybody. It influenced greatly the history of the world ideologically through communism. So we should know, discuss, and criticize these directions of the influence,” Elena added.
During the interview, I felt their amazing love towards their country. The Russian mother and the daughter really loved their country as a historian and a citizen. They told a lot about Russia, but sadly I had few things to tell them about Korea. I reflected on myself and about my ignorance of Korean history. Also, I realized one important: If I know a lot about the history of our country, I can feel more attracted to the history of others. It seems paradoxical, but they proved it conclusively! After the interview, I sincerely hoped that they would have a wonderful time in Korea and tell many good things to their friends when they return to Russia. Thank you for visiting Korea, Professor Elena and Liudmila!