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ENGin volunteer Marissa Peery: Cross-Cultural Lessons Exchange in Ukraine and the USA

Each story of ENGin volunteers with their students is unique and never ceases to amaze us with the strength of bonds formed through one-on-one English practice communication. Thanks to the program, ENGin volunteer Marissa Perry found great friends, taught a lesson in a Ukrainian school, gained a vivid volunteer experience without leaving home, and shared her story with us.


The photo shows a volunteer Marissa Peery and her students Solomiya and Poloyina of the ENGin online conversational English language practice program

Marissa, a 16-year-old from Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee, joined the ENGin program in December 2023. She learned about the fantastic work done by ENGin through another non-profit organization she works for, UPchieve.


Connecting with Solomiya


Her first ENGin student was Solomiya. They hit it off from the very first meeting. Solomiya had a rough experience with her previous buddy but immediately bonded with Marissa.

The picture shows sessions of a volunteer Marissa Peery and her student Solomiya of the ENGin online conversational English language practice program

Solomiya said, “Literally from that moment, within a week, I found a new VOLUNTEER; it was a big success. Marissa is amazing...my studies in the ENGin program have become much better.”

Their friendship grew like they had known each other forever.



Lesson Shared Across Continents


As an ENGin volunteer, Marissa was starting her education unit with her student. One day, Solomiya reached out to her with an exciting opportunity to teach an online lesson to English learners in Ukraine. With weeks of planning and teacher approval, she zoomed into Solomiya’s class. 


Marissa gave a presentation about the American education system, and then students introduced her to Ukraine's education system.


The picture shows offline lesson of a volunteer Marissa Peery in Ukrainian class of student Solomiya of the ENGin online conversational English language practice program
“We had a Q and A, and I asked them what their favorite school lunch was, and one kid yelled, “Spaghetti!” It was so sweet,” shared Marissa.

In the end, Marissa played a Kahoot review game with Ukrainian students and was amazed at how much information they retained.


The lesson about Ukraine for Tennessee students


At Soddy-Daisy High School, students offer a class called Contemporary Issues, where they discuss problems that are happening around the world. Marissa and her classmates just so happened to be studying the war in Ukraine, and Solomiya wanted to teach about Ukraine. On March 22, 2024, Solomiya was able to teach two lessons to two different classes. The students learned a lot and were deeply thankful for the experience that Marrisa brought to them as an ENGin volunteer with her conversational partner, Solomiya.


ENGin Matching with Poloyina 


Due to the high demand for ENGin volunteers, Marissa decided to take on another student. She began her ENGin journey with Poloyine. But they had a rough start because Marissa had a lot of unexpected life events. Now, they have been able to get into the groove of things and look forward to ENGin meetings every week. 


Becoming an ENGin Mentor


Passionate about teaching, Marissa also mentors two new ENGin volunteers. They exchange emails, lesson plans, and advice, forming strong connections based on their shared love for teaching.


“I decided to become an ENGin mentor because I know how scary it can be to become a volunteer and work with people you've never met,” shared Marissa.

Thanks to volunteering with ENGin 


ENGin has enriched Marissa’s understanding of Ukraine and what kids her age go through in another country. The ENGin program inspired her to pursue a career in education, specifically teaching English as a second language. This fall, her school is launching a program inspired by ENGin for Spanish-speaking students new to her school.


Want to make an impact like Marissa? Join ENGin as a volunteer today and help bridge cultures through education!


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