Ukrainians Learn English

Ukrainians Learn English

The Washington Post recently published an article detailing how Ukrainians isolated by the war there are learning English through a Washington-area volunteer network of instructors.

The program is called Speaking English Language Overseas (“SELO”), and it pairs English tutors with groups of Ukrainian students, and particularly those located in the Ukrainian countryside.

SELO was started in 2020 by Inna Golovakha, a Ukrainian immigrant who lives in Arlington, VA. Golovakha had taken part in a program to teach Ukrainian teachers and students English in a rural country village. She saw a great need for bolstering English language skills there, and so she founded SELO.

Shortly before the war began, SELO had grown to 200 participants in Ukraine and 24 English speaking volunteers in the USA and elsewhere. 

The war made attending school in person too dangerous, so students take advantage of learning English virtually. The war, however, has made even virtual classes a challenge, and some Ukrainian students have had to leave their lessons to flee to cellars and bomb shelters.

Nonetheless the Ukrainian students continue to participate and to learn English, even as the war rages all around them.