Humans of La Tour X: Ms. Buée

This article is one of a series of posts dedicated to our latest project, Humans of La Tour. Inspired by the successful Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton, Humans of La Tour is comprised of a series of journalistic portraits created by the Journalism students at La Tour. They seek to highlight a few of the many people who make up the La Tour community: those we see every day as our professors and classmates, as well as those whose hard work and dedication keep the school running smoothly on a daily basis.

Each portrait was created by an Anglophone Section student in Ms. Temple’s Journalism Elective as part of their final project for the Spring Semester 2021.

By Aurore de la Bretesche (2EA)

Ms. S. Buée has been a Russian teacher at La Tour since the year 2000, but she can actually be defined by many other details! This is why I decided to interview her as a project for the Journalism Elective, Humans of La Tour. We met in April for a really interesting interview during which we discussed various subjects such as her career, European culture and the situation in the Slavic countries.

In fact, one thing I discoverd is that my Russian teacher is actually Ukrainian! She was born and raised in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital when this country was under the rule of the Soviet Union. She thus learned to speak Russian and Ukrainian. “All the people living in Kiev are bilingual,” she adds. I asked her how different these two Slavic languages were: “Comparing the Russian language to the Ukrainian language is like comparing the French language to the Italian language,” she said.

Mrs. Buée went to Kiev University and learned French and English and studied literature as well. With her studies, she was set to become an interpretor or a translator. In fact, this is exactly what she did as her first job while writing her thesis in order to finish her studies. Our teacher also did internships at United Nations, at Unesco, in Geneva and in Paris. She then worked between the cities of Paris and Kiev where she would work for different companies for a few years. She told me she enjoyed working between two capitals. It was in Paris where she met her future husband, who shared a similar lifestyle of traveling to Kiev often. It was after her husband’s three-year mission ended in Kiev that Ms. Buée decided to move full time to live and work in Paris with her future husband.

In Paris, she searched for a job and found herself a position as the suppliant to the Russian teacher at La Tour in 1999, eventually becoming a full time teacher in 2000. She also teaches at La Sorbonne and in the “CPGE” part of the lycée Henri IV.

In this interview I also asked her what differences she saw between Ukraine, Russia and France. She replied “as long as you eat with a fork and a knife it’s pretty much the same, it’s the Christian culture and language […] it’s Europe, the same mentality.”

This interview helped me to learn more about Ms. Buée and the situation in Eastern Europe. Thank you to Ms. Buée for taking the time to speak with me about such important matters!

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