Fort Smith man crosses the ocean for love of music

Fort Smith man crosses the ocean for love of music
Morgan Jones standing outside St. Micheal’s Cathedral.Photo courtesy of Morgan Jones.

Morgan Jones’ love of music and teaching knows no bounds, which is a major part of why he currently holds a teaching position in Ukraine.

Teaching music at the Kyiv International School in the city of Kiev (Kyiv) has been a unique experience for Jones, especially because for the most part, he has been like a student in a city with hundreds of years of cultural history.

“When you really look around and take in your surroundings,” said Jones. “You think to yourself, ‘Wow I’m really somewhere with an incredible history.’”

It was Jones’ uncle that turned him on to the idea of teaching overseas after he struggled to find work in Canada.

St. Sopia Cathedral in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Photo: Photo courtesy of Morgan Jones.

St. Sopia Cathedral in Kyiv, Ukraine.

“Basically my uncle said, ‘Try it out, and see what happens,’” said Jones. “Kyiv was too good to pass up. It wasn’t that I chose Ukraine, it was more that Ukraine chose me.”

Jones reminisced about the moment he knew he was living among people from a vastly different background than his own.

“The very first week I was in Ukraine, we went to this outdoor museum, which was full of merchants selling crafts,” said Jones. “There was a group of young musicians singing, I didn’t know or understand the words, but I understood the passion in their voices, and it moved me.”

However, being thousands of miles from home amidst an alien culture can wear on a person, but Jones feels lucky to be surrounded by a large Canadian and American community, which offers him respite from an alien landscape.

“The community is so supportive, when you need it the most someone will come up with something – a well needed dose of home,” Jones told The Journal.

Jones often found himself yearning for home, for all of the reasons you might guess and one you might not.

“I missed the ease of language,” said Jones. “When you are in a country like Ukraine, you need to work really hard to read because the alphabet is completely different.”

Jones recommends that anyone planning to travel to Europe should make an effort to visit Ukraine and Kyiv.

“It is a beautiful city, the people are wonderful and it is very rich in history.”

Jones is gearing up to head back to Kyiv, with plans to spend at least another two years in the city.

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