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Photo: Darya Semyonova (in the center) with her students Photo: Darya Semyonova (in the center) with her students

Darya Semyonova: teacher at the Kyiv National Linguistic University: Specialists in Hebrew are being trained for the first time in Ukraine.

The Kyiv National Linguistic University offers a degree in Hebrew for philologists

A new section has opened at the department of the languages and civilizations of the Middle East at KNLU – “Hebrew language and literature”. This university is the first to provide full training for Hebrew language specialists in Ukraine.

“The university has gathered one group as a pilot group,” says Darya Semyonova, a teacher of Hebrew at KNLU. “There are 14 people in it, 12 studying under a state grant. This was probably done to launch the new specialization properly. As it turned out, we could have organized another group, there were sufficient candidates. But there is a certain restriction on licensing, so only these 14 people were left.”

The growing interest in Hebrew may be explained by the fact that Ukraine and Israel have begun to work together more actively, and as a result the amount of documentation between the two countries has increased.

“People see a demand in this sphere. I started working at this university [KNLU – I.N.] last year, and the idea to open this group already existed, but I didn’t see the inception of the idea. Students who choose this field of study feel a demand for specialists in this sphere. People who know Hebrew at an academic level could undoubtedly perform a wider range of tasks than the specialists that exist today. These students will not enter the market until several years from now, but it is a very good thing that they regard this as an opportunity in the future,” Darya continues.
Despite expectations, the majority of students who have elected to study Hebrew are not members of the city’s Jewish community:

“A few people, literally two or three, say they are interested in Hebrew because of their ancestry. They are not inculturated, if we’re talking about the community. But most of them don’t even have this connection, they’re just interested in Hebrew. Some of them have studied many other foreign languages at school, others say that they’re tired of European languages and want something exotic. Some of them were interested because of the grants that were offered here. They have different motivations.”

Financial support for the new specialization is provided by VAAD Ukraine, which pays teachers of Hebrew a certain sum in addition to their university salary.

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