Thursday, November 29, 2012

Summer School for Rusyn Language and Culture

Landscape in Eastern Slovakia (photo taken by Jim Kaminski)

The Studium Carpato-Ruthenorum International Summer School for Rusyn Language and Culture will be held for the fourth time in Prešov, Slovakia this coming June, 2013. Sponsored by the Institute of Rusyn Language and Culture and housed at the University of Prešov, the three-week session which runs from June 9-30 offers a rich and exciting immersion experience for those interested in learning about Carpatho-Rusyn language, history, and culture on site.

American students attending the summer school
So many of our grandparents and great-grandparents came from the eastern Slovak region around Prešov, slightly to the east--from Transcarpathia, and also slightly to the north--from the Lemko Region of southeastern Poland. There’s simply something very special about having the opportunity to spend three weeks in this area, not only absorbing information from experts, but also enjoying several excursions which will familiarize you with Prešov itself, and the surrounding countryside. Do you have questions about your grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ homeland? You’ll get your questions answered at the Studium. Participants not of Carpatho-Rusyn background are also warmly welcomed and will have a chance to learn about a fascinating Slavic culture poised on the threshold between the East and West Slavic worlds.

This summer, Professor Paul R. Magocsi of the University of Toronto and the foremost scholar in Carpatho-Rusyn studies in the world will guide you along the Carpatho-Rusyn historical path from the beginnings to the present day in a series of lectures during weeks one and three. During week two, Professor Patricia Krafcik of The Evergreen State College and longtime editor (1978-98) of the Carpatho-Rusyn American Newsletter, will offer presentations on selected topics in Carpatho-Rusyn folklore. Parallel lectures on history and folklore will be given in Rusyn for advanced students by faculty from the University of Prešov and also from Uzhhorod, Ukraine.

Participants have enjoyed enormously the various excursions offered in the first three years of the program, and this summer promises the same enjoyment and more. Some destinations include the towns of Medzilaborce (including the graves of famous Rusyns and the Andy Warhol Museum of Modern Art), Bardejov (with its famous open-air museum of Carpathian wooden churches), Svidník (and its well-known Rusyn Folk Festival), and Stará L’ubovňa (with its castle complex, and including a raft trip on the Dunajec River). A walking tour of Prešov will jumpstart our summer, and a visit to several working Carpathian wooden churches provides a journey into the past which is great for photographers and is truly unforgettable. There will be two new experiences this summer, as well. One is our attendance at an authentic Rusyn wedding in the village of Kurov (home village of Professor Mykola Mushynka, who will be reading lectures in Rusyn on folklore and who will offer an in-depth explanation of the wedding event) and a day trip on the final Saturday to the city of Uzhhorod in Ukraine with which so much significant Rusyn history and culture are identified. There, Uzhhorod resident Valerii Padiak, who will be offering the history lectures in Rusyn, will serve as our enthusiastic guide acquainting us with the “Carpatho-Rusyn Uzhhorod.”
View from the 11th floor dormitory

The Studium Carpato-Ruthenorum, then, offers you the chance to get deeply familiar not only with one city important in Rusyn history and culture, Prešov, but also plenty of opportunity for travel in surrounding areas and a profound experience of Rusyn culture.

Finally, there is a certain wonderful camaraderie that develops among the participants which previous attendees can tell you about. You will develop friendships that may last a lifetime. Most definitely, for those of Carpatho-Rusyn background, you will breathe the air your ancestors breathed, see some of the sights they certainly saw, including the magnificently green and rolling hills which give way to the rugged Carpathians, and acquire a deeper understanding of the lives they lived.

For further information and application, please go to:
Written by Pat Krafcik, email:


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