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Global Volunteer Blogs

Aug 10

Places which you have to see before leaving Chernivtsi

Asia Posted by: Asia |
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Places which you have to see before leaving Chernivtsi

I think that the most common problem of every EVS volunteer is poor time management. It's a shame when you should leave the city, and there is still a few positions on your list of places worth to see.

What do You should to do if You want to avoid this problem?

  1. Make a list :) It seems to be easy, but exactly You have to put some effort into preparation a good one. First – research! You have to collect the information what it's worth to see at the beginning. These places should be at the top of the list. When you will not have enough time to see everything you want, you will see what is most important.

  2. Create a GoogleCalendar! This is a simple way to be able to plan even your whole stay. You organize compulsory activities and will be able to easily plan all additional things. And what is the best – You can check your daily/monthly plan in every place where you have access to the Internet, inform your friends and share the information.

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Jul 28

From the University to the ...Kindergarten :)

Asia Posted by: Asia |
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From the University to the ...Kindergarten :)  

I am a teacher. During my education I was learned how to help people to discover and learn new things, how to do it faster and more effectively. I know which methods I should use to show and highlight the most important information and what is necessary if I want to prepare the lesson in original and interesting way. I know and I can use this information, but in work with adults!

Before my coming here, I didn't know exactly anything about teaching little kids! First thought – “for sure it shouldn't be so difficult”, but during preparation I realized, that I should put more effort to create something interesting. So before my first English lesson I was a bit stressed out, I watched the movies and clips on the Internet with songs for children. It was really funny, when I tried to learn the lyrics, I played songs all the time– I think my flatmates know all of these songs very well and can sing with me :)

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Jun 29

Almost one month in Chernivtsi: Being active is awesome!

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Sighteeing is great, but let's back to work!

My next days in Chernivtsi were definitely more intensive and full of activities. But let me make a long story short and describe just some of our tasks and activities.

 

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Jun 29

First week in Chernivtsi: Seen and shot.

Joanna Posted by: Joanna |
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Since coming to Ukraine I have basically the same general goals as almost all volunteers: to improve my language skills, learn a new language, gain valuable work experience, challenge myself, discover new places, find new friends and to generally change my outlook on life. And after first 3 weeks of my stay here I can definitely say - I am going to the right direction. 

 

SEEN AND SHOT: SIGHTEESING FIRST! :)

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Jun 27

Why I Love the Ukraine?

Asia Posted by: Asia |
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Why I Love the Ukraine?

My first visit in the Ukraine was about a few years ago. I was in Lviv. I have my favorite places there and I really like this city. But until my coming to Chernivtsi I couldn't say that I really like this country. Now I know - the Ukraine is amazing!


I like the Chernivtsi. People here are very friendly and hmm... with open heart – they are ready to share with you everything what they have (even though they do not have too much). I really like the little gardens, with the vegetables, flowers and fruit trees next to the housing in the middle of city center, small and crowded marshrutkas in which you can find pictures and calendars with orthodox saints; trolleybuses where from one site to the other site you give your money unknown people and they will give you back the rest and the ticket (no one takes dropped on the floor money – everyone knows that it was someone's property and the trolleybus staff deserves the most). The roads here are horrible, but no one cares. People aren't so stressed out like in Poland, for two weeks I saw maybe one person who was really busy I ran to the bus stop! Ice Cream packed like sausages look really funny...and they are tasty, I ate it today ;) 

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Jun 27

Why EVS? Why in Ukraine?

Joanna Posted by: Joanna |
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I consider myself as a life enthusiast. It may sound cliche, I know, but I really think that life is too short and our world is too big to spend all these years living the same boring life, working for just one company and living in the same place. But hey, don't get me wrong! If you are one of those people - there is also nothing wrong in it. But as we all need air and water to survive - I need to constanly challenge myself to feel that I'm still alive. But ok,  let's go further. :)
For the first time I have heard about EVS a few years ago when I met a German girl who was doing her EVS project in Poland. I didn't really like her tasks to be honest (as she was doing everyday the same stuff in the kindergarten) but the idea of such kind of activities seemed to be pretty cool. I started to read about it more and looking for some useful information but then I was too busy with my studies and other things so I completely forgot about everything.
These thoughts came back again a few years later when I graduated from my University. I was checking databases for some projects and actually I even sent one application and... I got in! But well, life is full of surprises, my plans have changed and I ended up doing an internship (and later working) in Berlin.
After one year of working and living in the capital of Germany I decided to make a break. That was the right time to change something and gain some new interesting experience. I was finally ready and absolutely up for the challenge.
I was not sure for what exactly I am looking for - except two things:
1. definitely something that relates to my interests and... 
2. definitely I want to go to Ukraine. 
So my "no plan" became "a plan".  
First step: EVS database. Keyword: Ukraine. I have found a project which seemed to be interesting to me and I just sent my application. Skype interview, more details about the project and my decision: I'm going
To be honest my parents were a bit sceptical at first. The same as some of my friends with their attitude: "Oh come on girl, do you really want to leave such an amazing city of Berlin? For what? For Ukraine? Be serious". But luckily only some of them. :) My parents and close friends (even though they were a bit sceptical about that idea) were not surprised. Actually not at all. Because they know me and they know how much I enjoyed my every trip to Ukraine. Love at first sight, I would say. :) 
So yes, it wasn't my first trip to Ukraine. I have been here a few times before, so my choice about the place wasn't accidental and I am convinced that I made a good decision. 
So what about Chernivtsi? As I said before - I have been in Ukraine a few times before but never in Chernivtsi, so I was even more excited.
Usually I prefer spontaneous trips with my backpack but this time it was just a long and boring journey from my wild west of Poland to Chernivtsi. It took me more than 24h (by train through Poland and by bus through Ukraine) so when I already came to the city I was tired as hell. 
I left the bus. Tetiana (local coordinator), Denis (mentor), Jula (his wife) and Bogdan (local) picked me up from the station to my new flat. I knew that I will be sharing the flat with 2 other volunteers from Poland, but I came first and actually I spent the whole first week alone. 
The organisation of the project is based in Donetsk, but because of the situation in Ukraine - we (volunteers) are living in Chernivtsi what means also cooperation with local NGO organisation. And localization of the agency is just perfect - on one of the most popular and lovely street in Chernivtsi - Kobylianska Street - full of colorful tenement houses and lovely cafes. "I am pretty sure I gotta like this place" - that was my first thought. 
The first meeting at the office came across as a meeting with very nice and friendly people, for example Tetiana (local coordinator mentioned before). She provided me with all information about EVS, the project, organisation, the city and many, many more.
So...let's start the adventure! 
More impressions (and photos) soon. Stay tuned. :) 
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Jun 07

Bicycle day in Chernivtsi

Andrzej Posted by: Andrzej |
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Bicycle day in Chernivtsi

On May 30 in Chernivtsi once again was organized Bike Day. In the event took part over 300 cyclists who rode together from Soborna Square through several streets of the City of Chernivtsi. The end point of the journey was parking at the Depot Shopping Center. By the end of the event, bikers tried to set up with their vehicles the inscription "Чернівці".

About 9:30 on Soborna Square gathered all the people who wanted to take part in this great cycling holiday. The beginning of the event was scheduled at 10:00, when the column set off in the traditional route towards Heroiv Maidanu street, Prospect Nezhaleznosti, and further: Holovna, Komarova, Vorobkievicha, Pivdenno-Kilceva, and again Holovna, streets, till the parking of the Depot Shopping Center.

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May 04

On-Arrival Training in Slavsko

Andrzej Posted by: Andrzej |
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On 18-22 April in the village of Slavsko was held On-Arrival Training for EVS volunteers. The meeting was attended by a dozen volunteers from Germany, Luxembourg, Poland, Italy and France, who currently reside in countries of the Eastern Partnership: Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova within the EVS program.

Slavsko is a picturesque tourist resort, which comes alive in high seasons. There you can walk in the mountains, ski, ride on quads and enjoy the beautiful scenery of Carpathian mountains. In winter when the ski season begins, local resorts are filled with tourists who come in crowds, even for a weekend, to take a breath in the fresh open air. On the street stalls one can buy original regional products, including handicrafts.

During the day, the participants took part in several activities held in the conference room, during which were taken and discussed various topics related to the EVS issues and cultural differences in different countries. There were discussed, among others, topics concerning the conflicts and challenges that arise during the mutual cooperation between volunteers, local communities and receiving organizations. During the stay, participants were allowed to use all the facilities of the guesthouse, including garden, billiards, sauna or restaurant. In the evenings, there was opportunity to spend free time together by the fireplace, share experiences and ideas with other volunteers. The only thing that failed indeed was the weather. It was mostly rainy and snowy, which for those who were already thinking about upcoming spring was quite a surprise.

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Apr 16

Polish Cinema Evenings

Andrzej Posted by: Andrzej |
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Polish Cinema Evenings - a series of weekly Friday meetings - were inaugurated on 10 April 2015 in Chernivtsi. The main goal of the event is to show the Ukrainian audience a few selected pictures of Polish cinema. At the end of each projection the organizers plan to hold a short discussion about presented film considering a broader political, cultural or military aspects of its background. This is to facilitate the audience understanding of the circumstances in which a film has been shot.

The first screening took place in the heart of the city, the cultural center of Paul Celan on Kobylianska street. The first to be shown was Operation Simoom (Operacja Samum). In the event took part participants of free Polish courses, who thus have had the opportunity to familiarize themselves a bit with Polish culture and at the same time hear the living, somewhat less formal Polish language, as well as others interested in this undertaking; since the meetings are freely open to all residents of the city.

Let's hope that the interest of the initiative among citizens of Chernivtsi will still keep on increasing.

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Apr 06

Week of Austrian Cinema

Andrzej Posted by: Andrzej |
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Week of Austrian Cinema

In four cities of Ukraine – Kiev, Chernivtsi, Kharkov and Odessa – is being organised in March and April the Week of Austrian Cinema, which for the fourth time already tends to present the most expressive and representative titles of the recent years. The festival organizers are Austrian Cultural Forum and Raiffeisen Bank.

In Chernivtsi the event started on 20th March in the local Centre of Culture and Art Literatur Cafe – well-known coffee house in the very heart of the city –  in cooperation with newly opened Honorary Consulate of Austria. The showing was held in a rather cosy atmosphere, gathering together a few to over a dozen people. All the takers could ask for a glass of wine, cup of coffee or even have a bite to eat on the spot.

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Jan 29

EVS – a sandbox of real life

Paweł Posted by: Paweł |
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In my opinion EVS has been all about the question if I want to do it consciously or I'm somehow still not sure but you eventually I go and punch it? I assume here that if you don't want to do it you don't take part in it. Yet, I met such people as well who participated in their projects because they didn't have better opportunities at that moment.

In my opinion the point of my EVS project lied in full motivation and devotion to the period of exactly one year which I've had. Since the very beginning I set up my own professional and personal aims and kept working on them. It has been a time which I'm evaluating on my own. I don't have to confess my mistakes and waste of time to anybody. In one word, it has taught me much more responsibility and respect to my own life.

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Jan 19

Life in Chernivtsi

Paweł Posted by: Paweł |
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Summer ended long time ago, so did autumn and my EVS project seems to come to the end soon. I still remember the first moments in Ukraine, full of snow all over, cold weather and typical gloomy winter urban landscape. It seems I'll say goodbye to Ukraine in very similar time but with a bunch of new and unique experience. There is still some time left to summarize all what has happened for the last year hence I'll focus on the last months.

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Jan 13

EVS: the utility of being useful

Lorenzo Posted by: Lorenzo |
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Like everything extremely exciting in life, my activity as a volunteer in Ukraine is unfortunately coming to an end, so that it is time to take stock of the work done so far. Contrary to what you may think, I am not going to list all the activities, events, achievements, failures or surprises in which I have been involved so far. My stay in Ukraine was amazingly enjoyable and successful yet, but knowing the reasons for that wouldn’t be of much interest for anybody. In this respect, I would rather like to dispel some myths about EVS and its meaning, so that who is coming after me could be able to draw maximum benefits from its activity as a volunteer abroad. In this way I will have also the opportunity to explain exactly what I personally gained in terms of competences from such an experience.

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Jan 12

Living in Ukraine II: staying abroad

Daria Posted by: Daria |
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It’s hard to deny that the act of living in another country, in another language, fundamentally changes you. Different parts of your personality sort of float to the top, and you take on qualities, mannerisms, and opinions that define the new people around you. And there’s nothing wrong with that; it’s often part of the reason you left in the first place. You wanted to evolve, to change something, to put yourself in an uncomfortable new situation that would force you to into a new phase of your life.

 

alt

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Jan 11

Living in Ukraine I

Daria Posted by: Daria |
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I was so focused on my project and trying to get by day to day – I literally tried to absorb all the moments as they happened and hold tight to those. Well, I guess now is a good time to take a break and write a bit about daily life in Ukraine, beginning with a photo of the bedroom I used to share with two other volunteers  from 10th of February till the 1st of June 2014.  It’s a good introduction to living there.


I loved that apartment. It was not cheaply updated and tacky like many of the apartments that locals might opt to recommend for foreigners. It had old wallpaper, antique furniture, and a distinct soviet character. It was renovated (but the unique style remained), well-equipped and capable to become „a home” for me.

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Nov 27

Being active is trendy

Daria Posted by: Daria |
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Being active is a new tendency and we can easily notice that by checking a couple of new advertisements, that appeal to our activeness. We don’t want to be passive so in the morning we drink strong coffee and in the evening we turn on the light to stay active longer than the Sun is shining. Sometimes we also help ourselves with energy drinks to be more productive, when energy is running away. Active lifestyle is equally trendy. We climb, cycle, go to the gyms and swimming pools, we run the marathons and then post pictures in sportswear on facebook and vkontakte. We don’t wish to be out of this trendy active community.

 

 

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Nov 27

Как понимать идеи неформального образования?

Daria Posted by: Daria |
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Я предпочел бы развлекать и надеяться,что люди изучили что-то,  чем обучать людей и надеятся, что их развлекли.   

Уолт Дисней 

 

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Nov 11

IMPRESSIONS ABOUT THE DONBASS STATUS "REFERENDUMS" OF 11 MAY 2014

Lorenzo Posted by: Lorenzo |
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For at least two weeks I have been wondering how I can contribute to this blog, as political topics and the way people are provided with information are not definitely my field of expertise. Over the past few days on several occasions I tried to find an interesting subject or experience to share with you, and in spite of my efforts, I was not able to think about any remarkable fact to describe. Thus, as it usually happens, yesterday evening, as I made a point of concentrating on different matters, I came up with the idea to write about a fact that I could personally witness while I was still living in Donetsk. The fact I am talking about is the “referendum” for the independence of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic hold on May 11th in some major cities of Donbass region.

 

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Nov 02

Trainings

Daria Posted by: Daria |
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Nov 02

On-Arrival Training, Kyiv

Daria Posted by: Daria |
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Last dinner at the On-Arrival TrainingAs every new-coming EVS volunteer I had On-Arrival Training organized by SALTO in the beginning of my project, which is 16-22.02.14. The aim of the training was to prepare us as a group of volunteers working currently in Ukraine and Moldova for implementation of certain projects. We have learnt how to contribute as much as possible to our local communities. Moreover, I got some more knowledge about other European programs, EVS philosophy. I planned my learning process and started thinking about my future Youth Pass certificate. OAT was also a great opportunity for networking and making friends. We were enabled to exchange ideas, experiences, expectations with other volunteers and trainers. In the end, we exchanged contact info as well so that we could travel and visit each other during EVS or even start cooperation. As it proved after few months, it was crucial to have friends all over Ukraine and Moldova – and many placed to stay (if needed) and explore.

It is hard not to mention atmosphere during the training in Kiev. It was the hottest time of Maidan revolution so, although we stayed in a peaceful place, we felt the tension in the city and society. Everybody, including the trainers was concerned about the situation and latest news. For us, as foreigners, totally supporting democracy and protesters, it was not only an adventure or just an interesting experience but also a short lesson of history and a chance to witness the events, that later influenced the new foreign policy of most of the world’s countries. Presumably, it was a lesson that I will never forget.

Workshop about our EVS tasks.Workshop about our EVS tasks.Last supper, watching the news about Maidan in Kyiv.Group photo of all the participants of OAT.

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Oct 21

International archaeological work camp at "Saint Miklosh" castle, Chenodievo, August 2014

Lorenzo Posted by: Lorenzo |
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How we worked at the workcamp

Chenodievo is a little, picturesque village in Zakarpattya region in western Ukraine, where time seems to stand still for leaving the dream of a jump in the past, and where a very generous nature provides a setting of endless mountains, forests and pastures. Here cars give way to horse-drawn carriages and an ancient Hungarian castle, surrounded by an enchanting landscape, stands alone not far from the little village houses. Chenodievo is therefore one of those places which you rather may call idyllic, where nature meets history and where a strange kind of magic seems to make dreams come true. As far as I am concerned, at least, my stay here had the features of a waking dream: I am talking about the archaeological summer camp spent at "Saint Miklosh" castle in this charming corner of Ukraine.

When I travel back with my memory to those remarkable two weeks of August, I can barely realize that me and the other members of the camp could share so many adventures in such a short period of time. Every bright impression, sincere emotion, crazy experience was mixed together with virtually endless sensation of lightheartedness, longing for freedom and inspiration. The long chatting evenings around the bonfire, our survival through thunderstorms and overwhelming floods in our tents, the traditional Chinese Qi Gong sessions at the sunrise near the mountain river, the contemplation of the majesty of the starry sky, the endless football matches with local children and even the dances on the burning coals, are just some examples of how we used to spend our everyday camp life.

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Oct 08

Summer culinary work camps

Paweł Posted by: Paweł |
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I couldn't wait more for this summer to begin, not only because of sunny weather and heat but also new kind of experience which I decided to take part in. My friends suggested me to participate in 2–week–long work camps which were going to take place in different parts of Ukraine. It seemed to be even more attractive thanks to interesting local festivals which the participants were supposed to help and organize.

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Sep 19

September bike trips

Paweł Posted by: Paweł |
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Bike trip in Chernivtsi One of my favourite events during European Mobility Week this year have been two bike trips in the city. The first one gathered around 12 people on Wednesday afternoon including me because I simply couldn't miss such chance to cycle. It involved the most interesting spots and architecture in the city centre. There were two people with us, Ihor and Maria telling a nice piece of history and interesting facts about the places we visited.

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Sep 15

Arrival in Chernivtsi

Paweł Posted by: Paweł |
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Declining summer pointed out that September has come along with a new academic year in Ukraine and many changes. The same happened in my life. We were asked to move to the west of Ukraine so me and my friends chose a picturesque city in the south-west to continue our EVS project.

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May 30

The EVS explained to an Italian

Lorenzo Posted by: Lorenzo |
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It certainly cannot be considered a walkover to take part nowadays to the European Voluntary Service in Donetsk. Ukraine and its eastern regions are going through a very turbulent period, in which intolerance seems to be promoted, prejudice and contention to be encouraged and cultural differences, instead of being a way to oppose discrimination, are being used as an instrument of conflict. The atmosphere of tension that reigns in the streets is such that it is quite easy to forget the reason for which we came here. Yet Donetsk is a charming city, which unlike you might think about a post-Soviet reality, it offers a lot of green spaces and areas for young people, for meeting and socializing and, last but not least, the incomparable warmth and hospitality of its inhabitants. To this extent, taking part to the EVS in this city is something rather meaningful, for which the enhancement of the values of intercultural dialogue and non-formal education play a very important role, as well as being a time of self-reflection and personal growth.

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