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ELC: Kaliningrad English Language Center
   Teachers' Comments
Anthony Kirby
Leanne Walker
Timothy Paul James Canham
   Anthony Kirby
This travelling thing was a new experience for me. Before I knew it I thought I found my self in the back seat of a taxi inbound to the city Kaliningrad. I had just spent two days travelling, now I'm holding on to the edge of my seat wondering to my self "are all the roads here like this?" I come from a little black dot on a map, a small city in the southern United States, of about 60,000 people. So Kaliningrad seemed enormous to me. Well I settled into my apartment and with in a week I had adjusted quite well to the city life of Kaliningrad. I discovered some thing about this city. It is rich with beauty, culture, and wonderful people. I soon met and befriended many great people and I continue to learn more about this place and culture every day. Even though I must return to the U.S. a piece of my heart and life will be left here in Russia.
   Leanne Walker
There's a question in one of my teaching units: "What is your favorite season?" The vast majority of students say "Summer", and now that we've had a taste of summer weather, I'm beginning to understand. Summer is when Kaliningrad puts on its most obvious display of beauty. But one or two say, "All - every season has its own charm." I find myself agreeing with this claim. I'd never lived in a place where one needed a thermometer that could measure degrees below zero (Celsius), so the starkness of bare trees and ground when I arrived did not immediately appeal. However, throughout winter, I never ceased to be enraptured by the beautifying effect of a fresh covering of snow. Winter has its delights. And it's only after a 'real' winter that one can appreciate spring. For several weeks, each day revealed more and more green shoots responding to the sun's beckoning. Colours started to appear. The fountains were turned on. Spring is an enchanting season. Summer is approaching. I love sunshine - and of course there is the ever-present appeal of the nearby beaches and seaside forests. I'm yet to experience autumn, but logic tells me that the transition from the abundant green foliage I see around me now to the starkness of winter must be marked by splendor. Every season has its charm. Kaliningrad is a place of learning. For the Russians, it provides a variety of universities and institutes, as well as military, navy and police training centers. For our students, it's a place where they learn English and gain insights into live, culture and religion in the English speaking areas of the world that each teacher represents. And for me, it's a place where I'm learning more about life, love, myself and the people who make up our world. I've learned that in some parts of the world it snows on Australia Day. I've learned that one should not hurry on icy footpaths unless one wants to make a quick journey in the direction assisted by gravity. I've learned that a garlic press has many uses. I've learned that one can survive a few hours without running water. I've learned that the best way to really understand something is to teach it - be it my own language, or a Bible story that I've known since I was a child. And I've learned from the people here, who count 'walking with my friends' among their favorite pastimes, more of what it means to stop and smell the roses. I'll never regret that I came to Kaliningrad. For many in the world it continues to be an easily overlooked place on a map. But for me, it's a place where I'm forming friendships, learning lessons and having experiences that will be special for the rest of my life.
   Timothy Paul James Canham
Kaliningrad - Hidden Treasure

Russia, the largest country in the world, is lavished in many historical treasures. It is blessed with the grace of nature's beauty that gracefully paints its artistic senses upon its land.

"You're going to Russia?" was the question that was chanted across my neighborhood. The stories that followed it were terrifying nightmares that wavered my decision. Nevertheless, pictures of this great land enticed me to sojourn to this splendiferous country. Being in the Southern hemisphere, mandated a preconception of this great country. Schools taught very little about this great country and so I was not well informed about the country of historical treasures. As my enthusiasm to travel abroad left the ground, my heart sunk with fear and sadness. I was leaving my homeland for the first time to travel to a country I new nothing about, but bombs, trees and very old people. Images of people dressed in very old Scottish styled kilts and covered in brown and gray looking overcoats kept me awake as I flew to my destination.

On my arrival to Moscow, all my thoughts and conjured impressions were shattered by a warm welcome of a frigid airport. Moscow I thought, but as soon as I dwelled on its impressions I was directed instead to a place I've never heard of, Kaliningrad. This is the story of how I came to Kaliningrad, a city of hidden treasure.

Kaliningrad is situated on the Baltic Coast between Poland and Lithuania. However, this is not the treasure I am speaking about. The hidden treasure of Kaliningrad is its people, many of them carrying the memories of war and the effects of their previous government. Their survival and preservation of their city is amazing. Unlike many other cities, the people here are mixed with a touch of openness that sometimes can be misunderstood. In their own way they go through each day with motivation to work and vigor to live.

Traveling here is very interesting. You will meet a variety of different faces. To ignore such a sea of interesting countenances would be failure to enjoy the richness of this city. I enjoy traveling in the public transport and in the taxis.

Kaliningrad is a great city. My experience here has been a wonderful one. I hope that you too would choose to come to this city of hidden treasure.
© 2002 ELC