It has been one year since Drops released our Ukrainian language course, and since then we have seen an increase in Ukrainian language learners across the globe. At Drops, our learners study a language often for travel, work, school, and to learn more about other cultures. But with the introduction of our Ukrainian course, we saw new reasons: lending a helping hand and solidarity.
In the last year, our Ukrainian learners have studied millions of words and phrases in our Ukrainian course. The most popular terms were: "How are you?", "Welcome, everyone", and "peace."
We spoke to five of these new learners to find out what made them want to start studying the language and what their experience has been like so far.
"I’m an EL teacher in a Virginia public school and in November 2022 two Ukrainian brothers joined my classes. Administration told me the younger brother didn’t know ANY English. So, in a mad rush over a weekend I tried to learn as much Ukrainian phrases as possible to welcome him in my class. (Turns out he could speak some English, but my efforts were not in vain). Over the months, I’ve learned a lot both from my 2 students as well as Drops. I’ve been exposed to the sounds of the language, I can recognize basic phrases and important words, and I’ve learned it has many cognates with English! Using Drops helps me to improve my pronunciation, so I can impress my students! My students have hope that they can return to their country soon, and I hope with them. In the meantime, I’m helping them improve their English while they share their language and culture with me here in Virginia."
"My mom's side of the family is Ukrainian, but we've never talked about it much. When the war started, I finally became more aware of my heritage, and realised just how much I loved it. I've started learning Ukrainian again so I can reconnect with the culture and visit Ukraine, and perhaps my relatives, one day. Drops has helped me retain useful vocabulary to help me achieve these goals."
"I use language learning to aid my failing memory. I am active on several different courses from different companies. I started with Russian when I realised my memory needed a boost. Through one course I started talking to a Ukrainian teacher. I spend hours listening and correcting her English. We often talked about how our lives were different. Eventually in December of 2021 I visited Kiev to meet her. We toured the city and then travelled by train to Vinnytsia where we stayed with her friend. The warmth and generosity was amazing. I am not a world traveller. I understand that I will never be fluent in Russian, Ukrainian, Italian or French because of the way that I am. That is ok with me. For me to visit another country on my own changed me. I have language to thank for that. It has given me confidence, experiences and also memory."
"I started using Drops to learn Ukrainian. I decided to do this as solidarity to Ukraine. I find Drops has helped me grow my vocabulary and piece the basics together. I do use other language learning apps but Drops plays a big part in my learning journey to learn grammar faster. I just love Drops essentially helps like flash cards and such a fun way to enhance my vocabulary. I also like that you can learn more than one language as Ukrainian people also speak in Russian so I took the decision to learn both languages. It is interesting how similar and different the two languages are. I find this useful as Ukrainian refugees are approaching my place of work for help and support to be rehoused during their stay in the UK while the war drags on. It is a pleasure learning their language and their culture. I hope to meet Ukrainians in the UK at the Eurovision in Liverpool and speak Ukrainian with them and possibly make new friends."
"I started learning the day after the invasion started (but first outside of Drops as I didn't know about the app back then). For years I had been meaning to start learning another Slavic language (I'm Polish), but I couldn't decide which one to choose. Learning Ukrainian has been for me a way to emotionally cope with the news and uncertainty"
Drops remains unwavering in our commitment to help those impacted by the war. In the last year, we have donated almost 200,000 language courses. These premium memberships unlock lessons in all of our languages including English, Polish, German, Romanian, and Hungarian.
We're proud to announce that we have extended it for another year; to ensure those displaced have the language support they need in this turbulent time. We're also extending the course over the next month, so Ukrainians can access even more of our language lessons. (If you’re Ukrainian and have yet to access the program, download the Drops app today and claim your free 1-Year Premium Subscription).
Please join us in standing in solidarity with Ukraine in their fight for freedom and peace. Learn more about how you can help Ukrainians and preserve Ukrainian culture here.
Chelsea Roden (she/they) is the Head of Learning Content at Drops where they develop and curate courses in 48+ languages. Previously she worked in educational publishing and taught language and writing courses. They’re currently based in Germany.
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