Wednesday, February 19, 2014


A typical morning at the Studium begins with breakfast offered from 7:30 in the cafeteria across from the dorm. Participants then go off to morning class which begins at 9. In weeks one and two, the first class session from Monday through Friday will be the history lectures offered by Professor Paul Robert Magocsi in English and by Valerii Padiak in Rusyn. In week three, the first class session each day will be the folklore lectures offered by Professor Patricia Krafcik in English and Professor Emeritus Mykola Mushynka in Rusyn. After lunch throughout the three weeks, beginning Rusyn-language students will have class with Marek Gaj and Patricia Krafcik, and intermediate and advanced students will meet for language study with Dr. Kveta Koporova. Instructors at the Studium are all devoted to working closely with you in broadening and deepening your understanding of Rusyn language, history, and culture. 

 Paul Robert Magocsi and Mykola Mušynka.    

Professor Magocsi is the world’s leading expert on Carpatho-Rusyn history. He is the holder of the Chair of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Toronto where he has created the most complete library of Carpatho-Rusyn-related scholarship and other materials in the world—a literal treasure-trove for scholars. He is a widely recognized and respected researcher, writer, and teacher, enormously energetic, sharp in terms of his critical thinking. When attending Professor Magocsi’s lectures, be ready to take voluminous notes from the start! His lectures will introduce you to the history of Carpatho-Rusyns from their beginnings to the present day. His style is to present his lecture and then to set aside 30-45 minutes for questions and answers. This lets him cover efficiently what he wants to convey, and then he is open to whatever questions might have arisen during the course of the lecture. Those Q&A sessions, by the way, are as exciting and informative as the lectures. You will definitely acquire a keen understanding of where our people came from and what forces shaped them through the centuries, and you’ll be able to share your new and tremendous body of knowledge with your family and community. 

Valerii Padiak and Patricia Krafcik
Valerii Padiak is a bright and enthusiastic scholar from Uzhhorod, Transcarpathia—just over the border from Slovakia in Ukraine. Like Professor Magocsi, he has been teaching at the Studium since its founding in 2009. He has also been teaching at the Institute of Rusyn Language and Culture at the University of Prešov. Padiak is steeped in the history and culture of Carpatho-Rusyns originating in Transcarpathia. He is a walking encyclopedia! Among other things, he is a publisher of books on Carpatho-Rusyns, a calling in which he has been involved for many years. He has worked hard developing educational opportunities for Rusyn kids in Transcarpathia, as well, and he has helped Studium participants in the past three years get in contact with their Rusyn roots in Transcarpathia. Padiak strongly encourages the American participants in the Studium to practice their Rusyn, and in his warm and animated way he is happy to encourage even simple conversations over meals in the cafeteria. 

Dr. Kveta Koporova teaches the intermediate/advanced Rusyn-language class. A serious scholar of language in her own right, she is the first doctoral candidate at the University of Prešov to produce a dissertation about the Rusyn language in the Rusyn language. Why is this important? Because in using the Rusyn language to express highly technical and sophisticated ideas, she has demonstrated that the language is indeed capable of vast and varied expression. In her language class, she works with participants who already speak Rusyn, usually having acquired their language in the home environment, and also with those who have had experience with other East Slavic languages such as Russian and Ukrainian. Koporova is a warm and hard-working scholar and instructor. She is, by the way, studying English on her own and will be happy to try a bit of English with you, I’m sure, next summer. 

Marek Gaj is a schoolteacher steeped in his Rusyn language and culture. For twelve years he has taught children Rusyn in a school in Medzilaborce. His experience will serve him well as he helps guide beginners in the basics of the Rusyn language. Like other teachers of Slavic languages, Marek is aware that such complex Slavic languages as Rusyn cannot be taught in three weeks, but he will offer an enjoyable introduction to the language through the learning of the alphabet, some basic grammar, simple phrases and sentences, and songs. 

Mykola Mushynka, a professor emeritus at Prešov University will offer folklore lectures in Rusyn. He is a truly unique personality who lived through the difficult era of Communist Czechoslovakia and suffered personal and professional setbacks during those years. Hailing from the village of Kurov in the Prešov Region, he himself grew up completely immersed in and actively practicing all the folklore traditions about which he has written and taught. He speaks Ukrainian and Russian perfectly, as well, but not English. I know, however, that he would be happy to meet the American participants and to talk with you—and there are usually folks who can help with interpretation on the spot. Professor Mushynka is in many ways larger than life. His warmth is palpable and his twinkling blue eyes match his sense of humor. He will be our guide when we attend an authentic Rusyn wedding in his native village of Kurov. He himself has participated as the starosta (best man/leader of the wedding traditions) in several such weddings, and he knows these traditions inside and out. This event is not to be missed. 

Anna Plishkova
Dr. Anna Plishkova is the organizer of the Studium and the head of the Institute of Rusyn Language and Culture at the University of Prešov. Her calm and collected personality belies the very dedicated hard worker within—the one whose strong and persistent efforts helped lead to the establishment of the Institute. She will open and close the Studium session and will be working behind the scenes to insure that all runs smoothly. She is also the liaison between the Studium and the university administration, an important role in which she serves to garner strategic support for the Institute and the Studium. Dr. Plishkova also completed her dissertation a few years ago on the Rusyn language written in Rusyn and defended the dissertation in Bratislava, Slovakia’s capital. She has written widely on the language, including a book available from the Carpatho-Rusyn Research Center translated into English and entitled Language and National Identity: Rusyns South of the Carpathians (East European Monographs, Columbia University Press, 2009). Along with one of Professor Magocsi’s many books, The People From Nowhere, Professor Plishkova’s book is well worth reading if you are interested in Carpatho-Rusyn history and culture. 

Finally, in week three of this summer’s Studium, I (Pat Krafcik) will give the afternoon lectures on selected topics in Carpatho-Rusyn folklore in English. I am an Associate Professor of Russian Language and Literature at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. I participated with Professor Magocsi in founding the Carpatho-Rusyn Research Center in 1978 and was the editor for most of the years of our publication of the Carpatho-Rusyn American Newsletter (1978-98). I have nurtured a passion for Slavic folklore for some decades now and offered lectures in selected topics in Rusyn folklore at the past three sessions of the Studium. My lectures are more like talks in which I invite participation from the students so that our sessions resemble a discussion over coffee—they are both serious and enjoyable, and full of information at the same time. Participant contributions enrich what I have to contribute. The learning works both ways, and I appreciate this. I will also be assisting Marek Gaj in his teaching of beginning Rusyn. For the first two weeks, while Marek is still finishing his academic year in Medzilaborce with his own pupils, I will work with the beginners during the first hour of class, practicing what Marek has taught us. During the second hour, Marek will arrive to introduce new material. In week three, he will teach the full class time, but I will be there to help with translating questions you might have for him. 

There are others connected with the work of the Institute of Rusyn Language and Culture and who will be present at the opening and closing ceremonies. Among them, Timea Veres, who speaks excellent English, will be a helpful liaison between participants and the Institute people. She is a fine historian in her own right and is a lovely individual who is willing to go the extra mile to help participants feel at home. You may also meet along the way others members of the staff of the Institute for Rusyn Language and Culture.  

We all hope to see you at the Studium this summer for three weeks of significant learning and unforgettable experiences. The deadline (somewhat flexible) for applying is March 1, 2014, and applications and more information are available at the Carpatho-Rusyn Society website. Please note that the arrival for participants from abroad is Saturday, June 14. Already on Sunday, June 15, we have our first excursion—a visit to the Svidník Open Air Museum and the Svidník Rusyn Folk Festival which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.

Feel free to contact me with any questions you might have, at  

Written by Pat Krafcik

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Kurova Ensemble
What is a typical day like at the Studium Carpato-Ruthenorum? What is the dorm like? What excursions lie ahead for this coming summer? This blog text will address these issues. 

But first: Before discussing the dorm and excursions, a quick note about an important question: Can a student registered at a North American college or university get college credit from attending the Studium? Yes. But here’s how this works: As in the case of many other study-abroad programs, the institution abroad does not itself award a certain number of credits. The awarding of credits—either semester or quarter credits—depends on the student’s home institution. What the Prešov University Studium organizers offer upon a student’s request is an official stamped document which states clearly what the program is and how many class hours the students attended for history, folklore, and language. The students then takes this document to their university’s Registrar who processes this information and determines the exact number of credits to be awarded. The student might also want to download the informational brochure already available at the C-RS website, print it out, and add it to that official document from the Studium so that their Registrar clearly understands what the program entailed. Every college and university has the right to assess study abroad programs on the basis of its own standards. Students who want credits should let the Studium organizers know from the start if they would like to get this document. 

A typical morning at the Studium begins from 7:30 to 9 in the cafeteria across from the dorm where participants will find a good breakfast. Then, off to morning class which starts at 9. The first week’s morning and afternoon class sessions this summer, 2014, will be divided up between the language lessons and the folklore lectures offered by Prešov University Professor Emeritus Mykola Mushynka in Rusyn and Professor Patricia Krafcik from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, in English. In weeks two and three, along with language classes, participants will attend history lectures by Prešov University Lecturer Valerii Padiak in Rusyn and the University of Toronto’s Professor Paul Robert Magocsi in English. More on the faculty and classes in the next blog. 

Meanwhile, what about the dorm, the cafeteria, and the excursions? 
The dorm rooms are suites of two “bedrooms,” each with two beds, and each suite has a toilet which is in a separate little cubby from the sink and shower. It has been possible for previous participants to ask for a bedroom for one person for a few extra dollars, and this may be the case again—so please write to the Studium organizers with your request (write to English-speaking Timea Veres at For stunning views of the surrounding town and countryside, go up to the top floor. From one side you can see the village of Kapušany, and if you look carefully, you can actually make out the ruins of Kapušany castle high up on a craggy hill. From another side of the dorm, you look down at the swiftly flowing Torysa River which runs through Prešov and offers a terrific walking and running trail for residents and visitors. Wifi is available in the rooms. There are two kitchens on each floor with a stove and a smattering of pots, dishes, and mugs, and each has an additional and larger refrigerator for residents to use. Some of us became proficient at using the European washing machine and dryer located in the kitchen areas; others simply washed out items of clothing by hand in Woolite or some other detergent and hung them on travel drying lines stretched across the room. Bring light summer clothing, and plan to dress in layers for the occasional cooler or rainy day. This writer found that washing these kinds of clothes by hand isn’t a problem at all. 

Kurova Ensemble
The cafeteria is located just across the parking lot from the dorm. Breakfast may include pastries and hearty bread, butter, and jam, sometimes sliced cheese and ham, at other times eggs and yogurt, and even granola. Lunch always starts with a delicious soup served family style, followed by a variety of dishes of meat and potatoes, some fish, some versions of baked dough. Dinner salads were also available at suppertime, as well, and this writer found that option to be nutritious and very welcome. The occasional serving of pyrohŷ is always a hit. Occasionally a dish served for lunch or for supper was a bit difficult for us to define, made of thick dough and other ingredients. A sense of humor definitely makes the experience of dealing with the food fun. You’ll have some amusing memories from this aspect of the program, but you’ll never go hungry. And with a visit to TESCO or the small grocery across from the dorm, you can always find a few snacks or pieces of fruit to supplement the cafeteria diet. If you have any special dietary needs, please let Timea Veres know right away. 

Excursions and special events this coming summer will include the Medzilaborce Festival of Culture and Sport; the Andy Warhol Museum of Modern Art; gravesites of famous Rusyns at Čertižno; a visit with young school kids at the Rusyn-language elementary school at Čabiny; walks around Prešov to the various places of worship and the Rusyn Museum; a play in Rusyn at the Alexander Dukhnovych Theater; a pysankŷ and a folksong workshop; a trip north into Poland to the town of Krynica to visit Lemko Rusyn sites, including the Nikifor Drovniak museum and a visit to a Rusyn Orthodox church along with famous and much beloved Lemko Rusyn poet Petro Trochanovsky; and an excursion to Kurov, the native village of Studium instructor and Prešov University professor emeritus Mykola Mushynka where Studium participants will—as they did last summer—experience a magnificent performance by the Kurov folk ensemble. This performance will replicate the springtime “Rusalia” festival replete with an authentic Rusyn wedding. Last summer’s participants were absolutely enthralled by this last visit. The village folk welcome us warmly, their ensemble is superb, the food is excellent, and the music will have us tapping our feet and dancing. 

Next blog text: Faculty and Classes.
Written by:  Patricia Krafcik.  Email: