UNT Offers Russian Language Summer Class With Grant From NSA - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

UNT Offers Russian Language Summer Class With Grant From NSA

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    UNT Offers Russian Language Summer Class With Grant From NSA

    Want to learn to speak Russian? The National Security Agency gave a grant to UNT to teach the language it considers 'critical' to national security. (Published Friday, June 14, 2019)

    On a sunny summer day, you could hear conversations echo in the hallway of the language building at the University of North Texas. You couldn't understand what those conversations were about... unless you spoke Russian.

    "I'm an opera singer, so I enjoy singing in different languages," said Natasha Bekker, whose father's side of the family speaks Russian. "I mean in two weeks we're able to be conversational to some degree, which is amazing."

    The class is being offered through the STARTALK program, which is funded by a grant from the National Security Agency, or NSA.

    "Our two countries, they have a very difficult time," said program director Tatiana Filosofova, who applied for the grant from the NSA. "Because they realize how important it is to teach foreign languages that are critical for national security of this country."

    US Attorney Lays Out Next Steps After Billion-Dollar Cocaine Bust

    [NATL] US Attorney Lays Out Next Steps After Billion-Dollar Cocaine Bust

    Bill McSwain, United States Attorney for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, addressed the media Friday following a billion-dollar cocaine seizure at the Philadelphia seaport.

    (Published Friday, June 21, 2019)

    Languages like Russian, Chinese, and Arabic. You need only look at the news headlines to see why.

    "I don't think it's a surprise and it's really cool actually," said Bekker's husband, Salvador Bermudez, who is also taking the Russian class. "The world is becoming a smaller place and the big countries, it becomes a necessity to know."

    "To take the time and to learn someone's language is like, that breaks down a huge barrier," said David Oostenbrug, a former student who now teaches the STARTALK class. "I've never been in the middle of Dallas and some Russian speaking person who didn't know English was like, 'Help!', and I'm like, 'Here for you!'," Oostenbrug joked, pointing out he could help if that ever happened.

    Bermudez already speaks five languages. By the end of the month, he'll know six. "So thanks, NSA," he said laughing.

    Last year UNT offered STARTALK classes in Russian and Chinese. Next month, the University of Texas at Arlington will offer STARTALK Russian classes. They are free. If you are interested in signing up, click here.

    Get the latest from NBC DFW anywhere, anytime

    • Download the App

      Available for IOS and Android