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A summer of research and collaboration with Zaporizhzhia National University – In conversation with Polina Denysenko

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Over the summer, we have welcomed over 40 friends from our twinned Ukrainian University, Zaporizhzhia National University (ZNU) to Durham.

This included researchers and students who are undertaking joint projects with Durham counterparts as well as professional services staff who are sharing best practice with Durham colleagues. This programme of visits is part of Durham’s ongoing twinning partnership with ZNU.

Dialogue spoke to Polina Denysenko, Head of ZNU’s International Office, who visited Durham for the first time, to learn more about their visit, the importance of our partnership and what she enjoyed most about Durham.

Polina Denysenko, Head of ZNU’s International Office, Professor Karen O'Brien, Vice-Chancellor and Warden at Durham, Professor Sergiy Kushnir, Vice Rector at ZNU
Polina Denysenko, Head of ZNU’s International Office, Professor Karen O'Brien, Vice-Chancellor and Warden at Durham, Professor Sergiy Kushnir, Vice Rector at ZNU

Can you tell us a bit about your recent visit to Durham?

It was my first visit to Durham, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! As someone who has been learning the English language and culture pretty much my entire life, it was lovely to finally be able to experience it myself. Durham is this small and picturesque city that allows you to fully emerse in the atmosphere of magic, especially with the Castle and Cathedral in the city centre.

What does the twinning partnership with Durham mean to ZNU and why is it important?

Twinning with Durham University means broadening our international engagement; it is about strengthening our capacity in both research and academic areas and sharing the experiences that can be of benefit to both universities.  

Our partnership with Durham is important to Zaporizhzhia National University because it shows the support of British academics in times when it’s needed the most. It gives our research colleagues opportunities to continue working on their projects in peace and safety, and it also helps our students get involved in international activities.  

What do you hope the partnership will bring to ZNU?

We truly believe that this partnership with Durham University will help ZNU to continue providing education and research activities at the highest level, and also ensure that our university remains a competitive higher education institution in both national and international arenas.

Finally, what did you enjoy most about your visit to Durham and the North-East of England?

I definitely enjoyed the nature! Everywhere you go, you can see green trees and a lot of flowers, and the rainy climate really helps to maintain this beauty. One of my favourite things was to walk around the many public footpaths, breathing in fresh air, enjoying the serenity, and simply not worrying about anything at all. 

 

 

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