Pensioners from Moscow to Chat to International Students Online

Students from across the world will have linguistic and cultural exchanges with elderly Muscovites

September 16th, 2016
Alex Waters, CD News

A new initiative called Lingualink of Generations has been launched in Moscow with the aim of fostering an exchange between young international students and elderly residents of Moscow via Skype.  

The idea for the project came from the National Research University Higher School of Economics in Moscow and was inspired by a project which took place in Brazil in 2011 in which Brazilian students communicated with elderly residents of retirement homes in Chicago. This allowed the young people to improve their English skills and gave the elderly Americans the opportunity to talk about their lives and interests.   

The initiative, Lingualink of Generations, has similar ambitions to the Brazilian project. It is hoped that the Skype exchanges between the elderly residents of Moscow and young students of the Russian language will be mutually beneficial for both parties. For the elderly people it will help to reduce loneliness and the effects of social isolation, while for the students it will give them the opportunity to interact with a native speaker of Russian and practice their knowledge of the Russian language and experience Russian culture and values.

“Our pensioners have lived long and interesting lives which they can talk about, and share their wisdom” said Svetlana Pavshintseva, co-founder of the project. “Thanks to them, students from other countries will be able to not only master language skills, but also find out more about our culture, history and mindset.”

Intercultural exchange between the elderly and younger generations is of course not new, and many projects and organizations are already in existence, which encourage interaction between younger and older people. However, the technology aspect and its international scope make this particular project particularly innovative.  

The project is due to start in September this year, with 15 students from the United Kingdom, France, China, Thailand and the USA already applying to participate in the program.



Cultural Diplomacy News