ESU Ukraine » Information » NEED A BREAK? BECOME A VOLUNTEER!
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  • Author: varder
  • Date: 22-04-2017, 22:32
22-04-2017, 22:32

NEED A BREAK? BECOME A VOLUNTEER!

Category: Information

“I need some break!” – thought Nataliia Tkachenko after receiving her Master’s degree at Kirovograd University. Having decided that she did not want to start working immediately as an English teacher, whom she had been supposed to be, it appeared to a young girl that the best way to spend her time profitably and relax after 6 years of intensive studying was to become a volunteer. Searching through the Internet for the possible options Nataliia’s interest was kindled by Action Reconciliation Service for Peace (ARSP) about which she gladly told the students of KSPU at the meeting that took place on 19 April, 2017 at the Faculty of Foreign Languages.

The main aim of ARSP is to establish friendly relations among the nations through fighting discrimination, racism and prejudices. The volunteers from different corners of the world, who are lucky to participate in achieving this noble goal, get a chance to spend a year working in one of ARSP placements. During this year young people, aged 18-27, can develop better and deeper understanding of history, broaden their mind-set and become closer to other cultures.

Nataliia’s point of destination was Poland. Being sure that she was going to work in Wrocław, the city that appealed to her imagination due to the magnificent sights, the girl was a little bit confused when she was offered another place – Oświęcim (Auschwitz). “The first associations that come to your mind hearing this name are not positive: the image that appears in front of your eyes is more likely to be the former German concentration camp where more than one million people, mostly Jews and Poles, were exterminated. But soon I knew another  Oświęcim - a beautiful ancient town that has a rich history. The perspective to be involved in the work of the International Youth Meeting Centre, a kind of educational institution, inspired me” – Nataliia told the students.

Arriving in Oświęcim as a volunteer the girl was provided with accommodation and a sum of money to cover food and basic necessities expenses. The first month was totally devoted to training: she attended seminars learning a lot of intriguing facts about the Second World War period. When the course was over Nataliia’s workdays began: her primary task was to accompany international groups, who came to visit Auschwitz museum. But being a creative personality Nataliia also took part in the organization of various workshops and exhibitions. When the year of this enriching experience came to the end, the girl understood that she was not ready to leave the place where her heart belonged to. By happy fortune the centre had a vacancy for that time which Natalia applied for and was accepted.

Besides volunteering background, Nataliia also shared her experience in mastering different languages. She knows five languages, including Ukrainian, Russian, English, Polish, German, and currently is mastering the sixth one – Hebrew (the knowledge of which she kindly demonstrated in front of the audience  who agaping with wonder bore in mind their own struggles in mastering at least two languages). Nataliia claims that her secret is absolute language immersion. Having remembered one week spent in Germany after which she returned to Poland with a groundbreaking bundle of the German language knowledge, Nataliia assured that the best language teachers are native speakers, who in relatively short period of time can present you with practical knowledge of the language.

Another interesting point for discussion emerged when Nataliia was asked about the peculiarities of living abroad and the differences in Polish-German-Ukrainian mentality. Highly appreciating our neighbours’ determination, straightforwardness, and activeness, the girl mentioned that these are the features Ukrainians should develop. However, we are easier in becoming real friends: the Poles and the Germans are very cautious with letting people in their private space.

The meeting turned out to be a very successful informal event. Nataliia showed us the importance of knowing history for creating more prolific tomorrow, encouraged for further efforts in mastering languages and through her own example proved that volunteering is one of the best ways for those who still do not know which life direction to choose and where to search for inspiration.

 

P. S. If you also got interested in ARSP, you can visit

either its international website https://www.actionreconciliation.org/home/

or the Ukrainian one http://www.asfukraine.org.ua

 

Yana Hrebeniuk,

 

a third-year student, Faculty of Foreign Languages, KSPU

 

 

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