The project, which lasts 5 months, I started in August, so I already spend a little an abnormally hot summer in Latvia with traveling and fun time. Now I work with children who come to spend their time in the library after classes, waiting for musical and artistic lesson. I am trying to improve their English vocabulary by playing games, using a quest form based on the Latvian Cirks board game. I hope that it will turn into a complete long-term game with logical completion and many interesting tasks.
In addition, in the morning, I try myself as an animator in my colleague’s events in the library with kindergarten groups and schoolchildren aged from 6 till 9. These events are implemented by the project Bērnu žūrija 2018, where children read books and evaluate them. Here in the library in a theatrical form, these books represent and interact with a storyline.
The on-arrival training gave another project - collecting 100 wishes from Latvia and Latvian people for the century of independence. Under the hashtag #100wishestoLatvia, we have collected positive and negative feedback, dreams and wishes from Salaspils’ citizens. I hope this small project will continue until the celebration time.
Now, I expect to start the discussion of the English-speaking club. I hope my time will be as warm as this August in Latvia and as harmonious and measured as the river Venta, near which I’m living.
August - September 2018
Corners of Europe - when there are no sharp corners
The project "Corners of Europe" is not a long-term EVS, so our team tried to maximize working achievements with a lot of events. Among my daily routine, is the preparation and holding of the event for school-aged children, communicating and performing the tasks for which they can receive awards. On Tuesday, I usually visit a kindergarden, where I am working with children, studying English, playing and reading books.
The period of the project's meridian was full of travels. On the methodical days in library, we traveled to various places of the Kuldiga’s District (Kandava, Turlawa, Pelci), as well as to Dubulti (Yurmala). It was an acquaintance with the work of librarians of different levels and with the life of the Latvians. In addition to the new knowledge gained during the project, I also had the opportunity to travel to interesting and attractive cities like Tallinn (Estonia), Vilnius (Lithuania), Olsztyn (Poland).
By staying in touch with other volunteers, we together traveled to the capital for the Baltā nakts festival. We have found new ways of collaborating with each other. The library has also provided an excellent opportunity for the citizens to join and view the online broadcast of TEDXR. This was one of my little dreams that’ve became a reality.
For the time being, I work with other volunteer from France and we use all our skills to improve daytime spending in the library. Sometimes I run dance workshops for children and youngsters, as well as they study new technologies for creating handmade things. We have a huge success in organizing English discussion club, and moreover, I want to hold a number of dance master classes in youth center as well as photoshop lessons.
If you work with children, December is the best month for great activities. We made a holiday with awards in honor of the quest game’s finish, and several master classes for New Year gifts. However, we should not forget that adults stay children inside of their subconscious, and it is not difficult to awaken their inner child in a funny pre-holiday time. So with the English Discussion Club we arranged tea party and created our own moodboards.
In the last month, I organized a small block of lessons for processing images in Adobe Photoshop, including the basics of work for the average user, the notion of composition and the basic design rules. I will hold my last meeting with Latvian library visitors on the day before departure home. Because if we can do something, even at the last moment, so, why actually not?
Last but not least
The time that was spent in Kuldiga shows that no matter what complexities, problems and challenges we did not expect and, in our opinion, do not deserve, we will definitely have to solve them. Because in a room without corners (allegory about the title of the project) you cannot hide from them.
Short volunteering lasting up to six months is a very difficult thing. Especially when it ends at a holy time of celebration. Just imagine - you are a recently adapted volunteer, you have many ideas for implementation, plans and interesting people to meet ... and your time ends. You have to leave, because the time of Ukrainian corner in Latvia has finished. Nevertheless, on the other hand, I realize that I still have many places to visit. Definitely, I'll come back to Kuldiga again – this town catches me.
Tetiana Shyliuk, 23, Chernivtsi
Strategic EVS project “Corners of Europe” is financed by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union that in Latvia is administrated by Agency for International Programs for Youth. This publication reflects only the viewpoint of the author.