Since he began attending the weekly classes two years ago, Jack Latta has learned the Ukrainian alphabet, basic words and has started stringing together phrases.
“It is difficult, but if a person wants to learn, they'll pick it up,” the student said.
Not only is he becoming versed in the speech patterns of the Ukrainians, Latta said he is particularly keen on the knowledge he is gaining of their lifestyles.
“I'm learning the culture, the tradition and I'm learning some history about the Ukraine — and I'm learning some words at the same time,” he said.
Latta said his inspiration to pick up the language came from his parents, who both hail from the Ukraine. Neither of his parents spoke the language, but nonetheless it's part of Latta's heritage.
Luba Bozhyk, who teaches the classes, said students have many reasons for wanting to learn the language. Some want to be able to communicate when they travel, others just want to learn something new — no matter the reason, all are welcome.
“(Students) don't have to be Ukrainian,” she said. “As long as they want to come and as long as they want to learn.”
The former Ukraine resident said the course covers not only basic phrases and lessons on how to communicate, it also includes lots of details on the country's history, culture and ways of life. Classes are typically small, so students can benefit from one-on-one instruction with someone who has experienced it all first-hand, no matter what level they're at.
“I like to share my Ukrainian culture with people who are interested in learning about it,” Bozhyk said. Whenever she travels to her homeland, Bozhyk always returns with photos and tools to compliment her lessons.
“The pictures Luba showed (the class) were very interesting,” Latta said. “You get to see the countryside through the pictures.”
Anyone interested in learning more about classes can contact the Federation at 705-673-0890 for more information. They are taught for free on Thursday nights from 6:30-8:30 p.m.