When I look back on 3 months EVS-volunteering, my memory starts burning with the bright fire. How many things have happened during this time! It's easy to refresh that excitement, when me and Alexandr Makovey were going by bus for the road “Odessa-Bucharest”, and I told that time: “Do you believe, that we will live in Romania for 5 months?” He laughed cunningly and answered: “Frankly saying? NO!” And afterwards meeting with our receiving organisation ANTER, settling in the apartments, acquaintance with the new people. On the pre-departure meeting our favourite coordinator Nika Bunziak joked: “You should remember how many friends on Facebook you have now and how many will be after the ending of your project”. And it's truth!
This quantity of new people, meetings, interesting conversations I haven't had in my entire life. Firstly, my Purple Project team. We’ve been gathered from four countries: Ukraine, Russia, Jordan and Georgia. It's amazing to live and work near the people with different mentality, trying to understand different point of view, and, the most important, to look at yourself from the other angle, being opened and to open something absolutely unknown.
I remember our first presentation “Intercultural education” for 10th grade. When we were walking to get acquainted with Romanian pupils, I was worried a bit, in spite of the fact that I've had experience working with children. But everything was fine: friendly atmosphere of the class, sincere interest in the volunteers - this encouraged us for an interesting dialogue.
Next very bright impression - culture's event with the youngest pupils. Each of us presented their own country and I really enjoyed when kids were singing Romanian songs so clearly and loudly that I got goosebumps. I've made a video about that day, where I tried to catch that nice atmosphere.
One of the main topics in our project is “Interreligious and interethnic dialogue”. For me, as for Christian, is vitally important to ask questions my Muslim friends from Jordan, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Algeria. I know, it's sentimental, but tears came to my eyes, because I had no idea that people with the other religion could be so dear and close to me. I discovered, that Islam is peaceful and tolerant religion, and Muslims are so lighthearted, that I have no words to describe. The topic of religion I chose for my interview with the student of Craiova University - Simona, and we had fruitful discussion about interreligious conflicts and ways of their solving. To take an interview is awesome experience for me, these skills I want to develop in the future life.
An important part of my volunteering is my On-arrival training. Apart from big quantities of new useful information, new great acquaintances, beautiful Bucharest, I've received few global changes in my mindset. Let me explain in details: previously I had thought, that if you don't like something in yourself, you need to uproot this and to plant new. But in dialogue with Portuguese guy Tiago I understood, that you should not throw away anything! It's better just to develop that you already have. Each of us has all the germs and our task is to water and grow them up. This is real discovery for me, I finally understand that “New life from Monday” doesn't work. Yes, this is one of the biggest presents for my mind.
Our project topics are people's values, conflicts in humans society between adults and children, without doubts, lead my thoughts for formulation my personal point of view on different questions. Sometimes it is painful. So the topic of bullying made me to remember, how I refused my school friend just in the reason that the class didn't like her. Understand now, that choice made influence on me. I try to explain to the pupils, how important is to stay strong regardless pressure of the society.
You know, I can continue my article for long, because I really like being here. And Craiova, and Romania travelling, and opened people from the different countries… I've got used to this new life rhythm, although time by time it's needed to be on your own and to think about something private.
During this time my English is getting better. Sometimes it's faster to find a needed word in English and often I realised that my thoughts are in foreign language. Also I like so much Romanian celebrations, so when 2018 year came, each of us was looking on the wonderful fireworks on the whole skies. This New year's night with dances and songs outside I will never forget! And how exciting was being in church on Christmas, how warm-hearted and amazing were that Christmas songs!
It's a lot behind, but a lot is in front of me. I strongly believe, this EVS project is an opportunity for becoming better version of you. Every day I face up people, who motivate, who share everything with me. Of course, I'm not stopping and I've formulated my aims for 2018, grand year of my life, but these aims are just my secret… so good luck for all of us!
Natalia Panchenko, 25 years old, Dnipro