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The first exchange students to come to East Central University from Ukraine will arrive April 7 for a month-long stay under ECU's new Study Abroad exchange program with sister universities in Kiev and Moscow.

A reception on April 9 [WEDNESDAY] will welcome 10 students and one professor from Kiev National University of Linguistics in Ukraine. The reception will be from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Danley Hall atrium and is open to the Ada community as well as ECU students, faculty and staff members.

ECU's Study Abroad program established exchange agreements last November with the Ukrainian university and State University of Management in Moscow, Russia. The agreements allow both ECU students and faculty to change places with their counterparts at the sister universities.

"We have become heavily involved with global education," said ECU President Richard Rafes. "We know our students, faculty and the Ada community will experience great interaction with the Ukrainian students. It will be a wonderful learning experience for them and us.

"We are extremely pleased they chose to come to our university. We look forward to having them and expanding this program and international education at ECU," he added.

The Ukrainian students will attend classes and live in an ECU residence hall before returning to Kiev on May 4, said Dr. Mara Sukholutskaya, ECU associate professor of English and languages and a native of Ukraine.

"They will be learning about the university, our educational process and American culture," Sukholutskaya said. "They are all English majors and are fluent in English. They want to improve their English and learn regional peculiarities of English. They are eager to learn."

The students, who plan to become teachers or interpreters, are eager to share Ukrainian culture, language and geography with ECU students, local residents, schools and civic clubs, she said.

At the same time, Sukholutskaya wants the students to share in the rich cultural history of Oklahoma by visiting state museums and attractions and attending events that they can share with Ukrainians when they return home.

To sponsor trips or invite the students to make presentations to school or civic groups, call Sukholutskaya at 580-559-5293 or Dr. Scott Barton, dean of ECU's College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, at 580-559-5424.

The Ukrainian professor accompanying the students has a doctoral degree in English text linguistics, Sukholutskaya said, and will present lectures for English majors and faculty members.

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