Exctracts from Letters
Sachiko Iokoi (Osaka, Japan):
I learnt about the Summer School in Kartvelian Studies at my university and I decided to arrive. My decision stunned everyone – my parents, friends, my professors. The view about Georgia is hazy in my country. We know almost nothing and the only thing we have heard is that one must not go there because it is a zone of dire economic hardship. Imagine my surprise, elation and joy to find that none of the above points came true. Furthermore, great warmth and love, selfless kindness and boundless hospitality – occasionally quite unexpected and strange, exceptional people, beautiful city and country.
Stephen Rapp (Atlanta,USA):
I would like to say a few words about the 1990 Summer School in Kartvelian Studies of which I was a part. I gained a tremendous knowledge and love for Sakartvelo through the experience. Had I not been invited to participate in it, might very well studying something else at the moment. Thanks so much.
Florian Mühlfried (Hamburg, Germany):
For me the Summer School is a great possibility to get to know Georgia and its crazy language. After five weeks you have some basic knowledge of Georgian, you have seen some fascinating sites in Georgia on the excursions which are included in the program, you have participated in some inspiring lectures from local scholars, and – last but not least – you have had a lot of fun. Highly recommended.
Robert Larsson (Upsala, Sweden):
As a student of international relations, with a special interest in the Caucasus, I took the opportunity to deepen my knowledge on the region by going to Summer School at Tbilisi State University. It was a decision I have never regretted. The course in Kartvelology does not only develop knowledge of the beautiful Georgian language, but it also gives an opportunity to see the diversified country. From my point of view, the most rewarding aspect of the course was the opportunity to meet scholars, politicians and students interested in the fascinating state of Georgia. To discover Georgian hospitality by first hand experience is truly unforgettable.
Volker Stampe (Hamburg, Germany):
Planning to stay in Georgia for one year I came here as a foreigner with in fact no idea about this country (shame on me!). Thus, the Summer School of Kartvelian Studies proved to be a perfect start! Sensible teachers taught me the first steps in Georgian (what a challenge!), sophisticated lecturers told me about the country\\\'s rich culture (imagine a knight in a panther’s skin!), merry companions showed me their marvelous country (I shall never forget the incredible Vardzia monastery at midday nor the magic Qazbegi mountain at midnight), good friends helped me to find my way through every day’s life. Livings in Georgia now I feel at home - and that’s to a great extend the Summer School\\\'s merit. Many thanks!
Marietta König (Jena, Germany):
I am Marietta König from the Friedrich-Schiller-University in Jena, Germany, where I study political sciences and Caucasiology. The subject "Caucasiology" in Jena is unique in Germany, and it is led by the famous Kartvelologist Heinz Fähnrich. For the students of this subject it is natural to study at least one semester at Tbilisi State University. But I had never been to Georgia before, and so I decided to attend the "Summer School in Kartvelian studies" in summer 2001 to get an overview of Georgian culture, traditions, language and everyday life, before going there to study for seven months. The Summer School, led by Prof. Elguja Khintibidze, is a unique project in Georgia, and one of the rare with the successful aim of multiculturalism. Our students’ group was comfortably small and very international; we had even participants from Australia and Japan. You get into contact with foreign people of different fields of research. And since the international community of researchers in Caucasian sciences is quite small, the summer school is a perfect basis to meet them all, and to stay in contact for the future!
The Summer School proposes language classes for beginners and for advanced learners. I highly appreciated the teachers\\\' attempts to teach flexible and convenient to the students\\\' wish to be able to speak Georgian to deal with daily routine in Tbilisi as soon as possible.
Furthermore, there are lectures on different topics of Kartvelology, such as Georgian history, literature, archaeology and many more. And these lectures propose the rare opportunity to meet famous Georgian researchers. Our group especially appreciated to get into contact with Mzekala Shanidze, a very well known researcher of Georgian manuscripts. I will never forget the most intellectual tea session she gave for us at her home, where she showed us lovely old books, for example a very old edition of Rustaveli\\\'s "Knight in the Panther Skin"!
Another very positive aspect of the Summer School is the offer of excursions to various places all around Georgia every weekend. Thus, we visited in summer 2001 the old Georgian capital Mtskheta, Kutaisi, Vardzia, Qazbegi and David Gareji and, by this, got a perfect first impression of Georgian landscape, history, architecture, and its beauty!
The teaching and interpreting language of the Summer School is English, but whoever wishes to speak in Russian, French etc., and of course in Georgian, is highly welcome to do so, because each collaborator of the Summer School speaks at least one foreign language.
Ann Chugunova, Vasilisa Krilova, Jenya Zakharova, Sasha Popova (St Petersburg, Russia):
We were the first students from Russia who had the fortune of studying at the Summer School in Kartvelian Studies as our future specialty, hence we became very fond of Georgia from afar, having heard and read much about the country. Having visited different regions of Georgia on excursions arranged by the Summer School and having experienced the famed Georgian hospitality, far from being disappointed, on the contrary, our love for this country only grew stronger.
Above all, thanks to the Summer School in Kartvelian Studies we attended lectures of outstanding scholars, best specialists in the fields, and – which is especially important – we made considerable headway in studying the Georgian language. We were able to appreciate this fully upon our return to Petersburg and getting down to our studies. Great thanks to all who took part in our life and studies in Georgia.