Teaching Ukrainian Kids English

ACC President Andy Hunder reflects on the importance of English-language skills after volunteering to teach at Ukraine's popular and innovative GoCamp initiative 

About the author: Andy Hunder is President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine, Member of the National Reforms Council under the President of Ukraine, and Treasurer of AmChams in Europe Executive Committee
Andy Hunder
Monday, 25 June 2018 12:23

“Do you love your job?” I was asked this question by a 11-year-old boy sat in the middle row of the classroom in Dnipro last week. I was a volunteer in the eastern Ukrainian city, renowned for being a space and rocket industry powerhouse, teaching kids English.

This was part of GoCamp – the biggest civil project in Ukraine that inspires and educates a new generation of Ukrainians to speak English and break cultural barriers. Learning foreign languages has the power to change lives. Ukraine is forming its brand on the international arena, and social projects like GoCamp contribute to this process, making Ukraine ever more interesting for tourists and investors.

GoCamp provides children with the opportunity to learn English with international volunteers, who dedicate their time teaching kids. GoCamp is a social organization that I became a part of this summer. Ambassadors, business leaders and international volunteers have signed up to teaching Ukrainian kids English across the country. I was assigned with teaching 11-year-olds in Dnipro. I was inspired by the kids’ passion and desire to learn English.

Lingua Franca Creates Opportunities
“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way" said the psycholinguist Frank Smith. English dominates today's world as no language ever has. It’s considered to be a lingua franca across the globe. Not only is it the world’s most widely used language – it’s the language of business and trade.

Research shows that cross-border business communication is most often conducted in English, which is why so many international companies expect employees to be fluent in English. The numbers speak for themselves. More than 400 million people speak English as a first language worldwide. English is an official language in 53 countries. 86% of the internet is in English.

English is important for socializing. It builds bridges between cultures, and grants access to other forms of entertainment. It helps children to discover different cultures and find new friends. Knowing English increases the chances of getting an interesting and well-paid job in a multinational company. For these reasons and more, it has become necessary for Ukrainian children to learn English.

English is the language of opportunity. It provides opportunities for education, travel, and business. English helps children integrate into new environments quickly and smoothly. The GoCamp experience was truly valuable – seeing children’s eyes full of interest, passion, and desire to learn something new was priceless.

As to the question from the boy sat in the middle row, I replied using a quote from Steve Jobs, that is painted in big letters on my office wall: “The only way to do great work is to love what you do”.

If you would like to find out more details on how you can volunteer and teach English with GoCamp, please contact Yuliana Chyzhova, AmCham Ukraine Senior Communications Coordinator, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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