Language Director in the Faculty of Arts, Department of Russian
During the Bristol Teaching Celebration, Professor Andreas Schonle, Head of the School of Modern Languages, presented Elena with the Exceptional Student Support Award, an additional BTA award for 2022.
Here Andreas explains why Elena has been presented with this award.
Elena is a Language Director in the Russian department and her BTA nominations demonstrated the unique role she played in supporting students throughout their studies and during their year abroad.
As Russia invaded Ukraine, we had about 20+ students on their year abroad in various Russian cities, many of them in Siberia. Elena worked at pace with colleagues in the Global Opportunities team to keep in touch with students in Russia and support them in their return to the UK. By the time they were trying to make arrangements to return, their credits cards no longer worked and all major European airlines had stopped flying to Moscow or St Petersburg. Elena stayed in touch day and night with them and helped them work out itineraries to return safely home.
As soon as they were all back in the UK, Elena started arranging alternative placements for these students, identifying an immersive programme in a Russian-speaking part of Latvia and online opportunities offered by non-Russian actors. Whilst doing all this, she helped students come to terms with changing career plans following the collapse of economic ties with Russia.