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Easily finding fellow travellers on holiday

Belarusian State University’s Journalism Institute second year student Ivan Klechkovsky tells of many traveller-friends who have inspired him

Belarusian State University’s Journalism Institute second year student Ivan Klechkovsky tells of many traveller-friends who have inspired him

If you aren’t fluent in English, it can be tricky to chat to foreigners. Ivan was once told, “Wouldn’t it be great to have a mobile application to provide phrases for routine situations. Chatting with foreigners wouldn’t then be a problem.”

Ivan decided to make the ‘dream’ a reality, with his mobile ‘Tourist Assistant’ application. It’s already proving popular with those who love to travel, helping us to communicate and learn more about the world.

Ivan opens his application and various icons appear on the screen of his smartphone: ‘List of Topics / Phrases’; ‘Countries’; ‘Before Departure’; ‘Self-Teacher’; and ‘On this Programme’. The young man developed his application during his 11th year at school, assisted by Dmitry Rubanov — a teacher of informatics and physics.

Ivan clicks the first option to demonstrate his application in operation. A female voice pronounces phrases and sentences for use in a shop, theatre, cinema or airport. The voice belongs to an English language teacher. At the moment, around 150 phrases are recorded but the ‘vocabulary’ will be extended in the future.

Australia, France, Thailand… Before travelling, a tourist can take a virtual tour with a single click. Interesting information on a country is provided in this section. ‘Before Departure’ is especially for busy tourists or those who often lose or forget their belongings. Its phrases include: ‘pay a fee’, ‘prepare cash, ID and luggage’, ‘buy tickets’, and ‘number of hotel — by heart’.

“There’s so much to think about before going abroad. I’ve developed this to remind people not to forget anything important,” he explains. The ‘Self-Teacher’ section takes the user to a site to study English independently but is yet to be completed.

To access all ‘chapters’, you need a phone with an Internet connection. The application is available on Google Play Market free of charge, and has a download of 16Mb. Over 1,000 travellers already use it, with reviews averaging ‘four’. Ivan is now gradually perfecting his programme.

With his teacher, Dmitry Rubanov, Ivan is now developing another project: ‘School Experiment’. He explains, “Plisa school — where I studied — has Internet TV. Using it as the basis, we decided to record a video of physics laboratory experiments: not to cheat but to aid training. It shows pupils how they can solve problems. Later on, we plan something similar for chemistry.”

Ivan ran his own programme on school TV: ‘My Cup of Tea’. Among his guests were poets, inventors and local rappers. Before entering the institute, he tried his hand at working as a reporter and feels now as if his future profession is predetermined.

Ivan is searching for his own path in journalism. “I take an active role in youth issues, including reviewing films. I also plan to start my own video blog,” he comments. The future journalist boasts diverse interests and hobbies, being fond of psychology, coin collecting, writing video scripts and entry in scientific and artistic competitions. He also helps tourists not to lose their way.


Ivan Klechkovsky is a second year student at the Belarusian State University’s Journalism Institute, and graduated from Plisa secondary school. In 2014, he was placed second at the Republican Techno-Intellect Contest, and was a finalist in the 100 Ideas for Belarus 2015 competition. This year, Ivan was awarded by the Belarusian Republican Youth Union for ‘Best Mobile Application’.


Alesya Vinnik, a co-ordinator of the 100 Ideas for Belarus project

The sphere of information and communication technologies is among the key sci-tech avenues for advancement. It’s vital that young people develop such projects. The Tourist Assistant is familiarising the global community with Belarus, being much downloaded. We began noticing Ivan Klechkovsky 18 months ago. His programme is functional, helping tourists feel comfortable on arrival in a new country. We’ve been looking into whether similar developments exist and we know that nothing else of the kind has ever been registered in Belarus.

By Olga Kosyakova
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