The story of an invaluable experience
This story would have never happened if I hadn't met Subrata Kumar Das and many other incredible people in Rome at Mondialogo symposium, a round for the teachers and students of the finalist teams. I think this event changed all of us a little bit. As for me my desire to learn other people and other country became stronger and I did my best to share it with my students. Moreover, teachers from different countries who cooperate with each other know that learning other cultures you learn your own culture better. So I was extremely happy when I got a letter from Subrata, a teacher at the Birshrestha Munshi Abdur Rouf Rifles College of Peelkhana, Dhaka, Bangladesh with an offer to cooperate and do something together.
My students were also very enthusiastic and excited about future cooperation. At that time we knew much less about Bangladesh than we do now. Since that time every class started with exchanging of information that my students got from their Bangladesh friends. And it was real honour for all of us when Subrata said that they would have a Russia Day at their college. The students from Russia tried to do their best to tell Subrata's students about our country. I guess that my students knew a lot about Russia as they tried to find information that you couldn't find in books, encyclopedias and so on. Of course, information that Subrata's students gave us was priceless. All their stories and articles that they had made with their own hands were filled with so much love to their country, its history and its people that we also felt it and now Bangladesh has a special place in our hearts. We tried to share this love with other students and their parents during Bangladesh Day that we had in our school. I would also like to say some special words about presents that the students from Bangladesh sent us. You should have seen my students' eyes when they got the presents! It was a complete surprise for them. Then the Russian students realized that Bangladesh is not only a country with rich history but also a very modern country with a lot of tourist attractions. Unfortunately it turned out that to send a parcel from a small Russian town is quite difficult but we hope that in a few years it will reach Bangladesh. The next surprise was when I started getting letters from Subrata's students who couldn't contact their penpals from Russia. The letters were so polite and full of respect that I couldn't help answering all of them. Special thanks here I would like to say to Rizwan who wrote a lot of letters to me and really became my favourite and very obedient student.
In conclusion I want to say that it is impossible to describe all the great moments that we have had working together with Subrata and his students. Now all of us think that we have become very close and, of course, we hope that we can see each other some day. We have learned a lot from our friends. They taught us to love and to be proud of the country you live in, to understand other people and to respect and to be tolerant to other cultures. All of us, the students, teachers and our authorities are very thankful to our friends from Bangladesh as everybody in our school followed this cooperation and was very interested in it. So it was really invaluable experience and we all hope that it is just the beginning.
(Elena teaches at the School named 'RESULT', Volzhsky Volgograd region 404121 Russia)