Meet Me In A Minute International Week: Tatyana Gulak


By Jane Kim

Go Green club sponsor and ESL math tutor, Tatyana Gulak, made the decision to come to America along with her husband and three children due to her husband’s political views on Sept. 19, 1987. Gulak is from the Soviet Union, otherwise known as Ukraine.

“I came from the Soviet Union. America knows this country as Russia but it’s not just Russia, if you’re talking about where I’m from, I came from the Soviet Union, but now it’s known as Ukraine,” Gulak said.

Gulak and family came to America because Mr. Gulak was a dissident, or a person who’s against the government. Coming to America was the only possibility to live, otherwise her husband would have ended up in jail. However, Gulak doesn’t have any regrets coming to America.

“It was a good decision, but I lost a lot. I was a teacher in Soviet Union, but now I’m a tutor because my English is not good enough but my children have good lives so it’s not bad,” she said with a smirk.

The cultural differences between America and the Soviet Union took Gulak by surprise.

“Before, nobody in the Soviet Union sat on the floor like Americans, I was shocked when I saw them sitting on the floor, like in my opinion low life sitting on the floor and now it’s comfortable and okay, but even now, nobody is sitting on the floor in the Soviet Union.” said Gulak.

She also explained how reading was very prominent in the Soviet Union.

“In the Soviet Union, all people read. You can be a janitor but in your apartment, you will always have bookcases with books. When I came to America, it was very sad to see educated people without any bookcases at home. People prefer to use the library and maybe not read at home, so I would say that middle class people are more educated in Europe than America,” said Gulak. “I’m not proud, it doesn’t matter where you’re from. You can be smart in any culture.”