EVS life in the Office for Initiatives Promotion in Minsk, Belarus
Our EVS program has started in the beginning of September. After receiving our visas we arrived to Minsk, the city that we are going to live in for the next 10 months. Both of us have been to Minsk before, so we knew the city a little bit and we knew what to expect.
We met our coordinator – Maryia and moved in to a flat in frunzenskiy rayon. On the next day we visited the Office of our hosting organization – Office for Initiatives Promotion and set up a plan for the next months.
In the first week we also organized our first welcoming event – to meet people who are interested in cooperating with us and tell them about ourselves and our country. I really liked when we discussed stereotypes that people have about Poland in Belarus and opposite.
Then we started one of our main activities in the project – polish language classes. We received a lot of application from the poeple who want to improve their polish language skills, created 3 different group with different levels.
In spite of the lack of experience in teaching polish we both like our classes and really enjoy it. It demands quite a lot a preparation especially in the beginning, when you need to discover your way of working. We are also positevely suprised by the people and their enthusiasm of learning our native language. It gives us a lot of satisfaction and we go to our classes with a big pleasure every time.
In the middle of October we created another event – a city game for teenagers who went with our organizations for summer camps this year. It was another great thing – we discovered more interesting places in Minsk and had fun with the youths and then participated in a meeting for NGOs organizations from Minsk.
We were also interviewed by a local radio! Sharing our experience and talking about our stay was much fun.
Furthermore we started preparations for the biggest event of this year for our organization – MINTMUN – Minsk International Model of United Nations – an extra-curricular activity in which students roleplay delegates to the United Nations and simulate UN committees.
It was a big, four days long conference with participants from diffrent countries of the World. We had very important positions. As heads of Administrative Stuffa we managed a group of 20 admins and took care of all the 7 committees and organize their work.
Again, we were amazed by the youth people at MINTMUN, their knowledge, professionalism, positive attitude and level of english they speak.
We could also listened to a few interesting speeches given by ambassadors of Venezuela and Czech Republic as well as representant of the World Bank. MINTMUN time was very intensive and reach in new experience.
Just after the conference we headed to Slavske in Ukraine for on arrival training organized for the foreign volunteers who are based in Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova.
The aim of the training was to explain us more about our role in the hosting organizations, the rights and dutes we have, how to face problems that may accure as well as get to know the people who are also EVS volunteers in the region and make friends with them.
We took a part in several different activities and small projects, learned more about our programs and the idea of EVS.
Slavske is a very nice village in the Carpathian Mountains, so it was also a great way to travel a little bit, especially that we were lucky and the weather was great – with a lot of snow.
After coming back we already started preparing another events and collecting new ideas for the next months of our stay.
As EVS project is a learning service, not only connected to hosting organizations and I would like to share some other experience.
The project itself is created for people to develop their own skills through helping others and doing usefull things. One of our main private tasks is to improve our language skills – respectively russian language for me and belarusian for Iza (Belarus is a bilingual country, whiles russian language is predominant).
We also have opportunity to travel around Belarus, so far we have visited some nice small towns around Minsk and went to Lviv, Kovel and Slavske in Ukraine. However we are planning to travel more after the Christmas.
Minsk is a big city with population of around 2 milions. It’s was build in a sovet style after being smashed to the ground during the World War II.
The city is very convenient to live in and get around, although there are not so many interesting sights to visit. In the free time we like riding a bike (there are a lof of bike roads) and discover another parts of Minsk.
From time to time we also do couchsurfing and host travellers coming to the capitol of Belarus, going out with new friends and just enjoy our life and stay here.