Two groups from The Priory Academy LSST in Lincoln recently visited Fitzwilliam College for an innovative Russian Taster Day organised by MML Fellow Dr Susan Larsen.
The purpose of their visit was to learn more about the new joint Tripos in History and Modern Languages offered by the University, in particular studying ab initio Russian in tandem with History.
The first group, which visited on 26 April, comprised 10 Year 11 students, and the second, which visited the following week on 5 May, was made up of 12 Year 10 students.
As part of the visit, Dr Susan Larsen conducted two sessions: one an introduction to the Russian language, in which the students learnt to decipher the Cyrillic alphabet and a few key phrases such as “I love Fitzwilliam!” (Я люблю фитзвиллиам!), and the other a discussion of (subtitled) film clips from the Stalin, Gorbachev and Putin eras.
“The aim of this second session was to get the students to think about some of the ways in which the joint study of art, language and history might offer us a richer and more nuanced understanding of Soviet and Russian society,” said Larsen.
Mr Nick Milner, Senior Academic Tutor at The Priory Academy LSST, who accompanied both groups, said: “The challenge and breadth of Dr Larsen’s Russian language and culture seminars provided an exciting insight into the quality of teaching and learning that is on offer at institutions such as Fitzwilliam College, and the importance of personal engagement, questioning and reflection in developing new ideas and knowledge.”
The groups also enjoyed a tour of the College guided by two fourth-year undergraduates studying Russian at Fitz, and a talk by Dr Sara Owen, Admissions Tutor, on life here, applying to Cambridge, and the University in general. The students also got to experience student life first-hand when they joined current students in the Buttery for lunch. Reflecting on the experience, one of the Year 10 students wrote: “We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It was a great opportunity to learn about Russian language and history, as well as university in general.”
The Priory Academy LSST Year 11 students and their teachers visiting Fitzwilliam on 26 April for a special Russian Taster Day