Category: EVS
Common Vibes EVS blog (Part 2)

IMG_9586Part 2 from Matei

On the day of arrival, my first impression when the plane landed was kind of doubtful as there were just a few planes in the whole airport and not much going on (even though it’s not a small city) and the weather was pretty cold and clouded. After that, the guys from the organisation greeted me and helped me with the luggage to their car. On the way to the apartment in which I am going to spend 6 months with another volunteer from Romania, I was still a bit in shock and all I saw was communist buildings and bumpy/broken roads (which was pretty similar to Bucharest or other cities in Romania) so I thought to myself: “am I really going to make it that long in this place?”

We got to the apartment (which actually looks good, but it’s missing a few appliances and things in the kitchen needed for cooking) where I left my luggage and because I was hungry we went nearby to grab something to eat. As I had no idea about the Cyrillic alphabet, they ordered something for me (the traditional borsch, which is similar to what we have in Romania and some dumplings filled with potato..so nothing fancy) and we had a beer together. Later on, we went to a pub really close to the main square in the city center where we met another guy from this organisation. We talked for a while about this and that and after we also met with our mentor, Piotr from Poland,(mentor for me and the other volunteer from Romania) that is responsible for our good integration into the local community. Piotr and I went to the airport to pick Catalina (the other volunteer) up and went to eat something and after that he walked us home and we went to sleep (it was pretty cold in the apartment and because they told me to contact them before turning the heating system on, I didn’t sleep very well that night).

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On the next few days we were told about what EVS is and what this organisation does and the idea as a whole about what we will do during our stay in Lviv. In the evenings we went to some English speaking clubs and a Couchsurfing meeting where we met more local people and some foreigners aswell (some of them were tourists and the others are actually living here). We had a really nice time with them so, during the weekend (when everybody was celebrating the days of Lviv) I spent a lot of time in the city center in different bars, restaurants and cafes where I met even more people and tasted some of the Ukrainian beer and coffee which Lviv is famous for and I was really impressed.

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IMG_3007We also went on a city center walking tour with a German guide called Peter(Lviv Buddy) and we saw some interesting things and found out more about the history and culture of Lviv. I spent most of my time during this weekend with some Polish guys, an American, two guys from England and some locals just wandering around the city center. In the second week here, I met a Japanese guy, a Spanish guy and a German girl (who is teaching here) who introduced us to 2 of her Georgian friends. We spent a few evenings together and so I learned about other cultures as well in the meantime and of course we had a lot of fun while each of us was sharing some funny stories or interesting facts about their country.

What I really liked about this city is the street art (graffiti) and because the people are still not very accommodated with it and the local authorities are kind of against it, some of the graffiti were partially or totally erased. I might consider getting involved in this if there already is a project or organisation that wants to promote local artists who are trying to embellish the city (I will post some pictures so everybody can see the beauty of some graffiti because let’s face it, there is nothing beautiful about the Communist architecture – at least, in my opinion).

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After the first 2 weeks, I can say that I really had a great time and I am motivated to keep going on.

P.S. The public transport is quite bad so be aware of the Marshrutkas(small yellow busses which are kind of old and crowded so you will get a lot of hugs while using them) as it can be quite an adventure to travel around the city(so don’t be surprised if it doesn’t arrive on time or if you are running late). I would suggest taking the tram if you are not in a hurry as it has more space and is safer I might say 😛 Trams run until midnight, but don’t expect to get on one after 23:30 so if you are staying until later in the city center you might consider taking the night bus which comes about every 1 hour and 20 minutes starting at midnight near to the Opera House.

Common Vibes EvS Blog (Part 1)

IMG_9329Hello everyone! I am Cătălina, a 23 years old Romanian. Why did I choose to come to Ukraine you may wonder? Hmm…..I chose Ukraine for my EVS the moment I found the „Common Vibes” project and for me it was just love at first sight. It just hit the subject I was interested in : development of community, civil society and youth related programs. Also the fact that I will have to implement a project of my own was a huge plus for me because I usually learn best by doing something myself rather than through theory or just by observing others, so I believe this will be a great experience. I applied only for this project and I was lucky enough(sooo lucky) to be accepted. Yaaay!

Although I must admit that I was really curious about the country too, even though Ukraine is our neighbour I don’t really know much about it so I thought I should change that. The ideea of coming here became more and more a must-do rather than just another option.

Of course a lot of people asked me when they heard I was coming to Ukraine if I’m not worried about the conflict going on. And I find this strange because back home I live in the south-east part of Romania, which geographically placed me a lot closer to the conflict than I am now in the city of Lviv in the western Ukraine. So needles to say, I wasn’t worried about that.

My first impression of Lviv? A-ma-zing! I come from a city that is 4 times smaller and this seems city seems really alive with lots of interesting places from markets and pubs to the creative street art. Walking around the city centre I find myself admiring not only the architecture but also the grafitti which aren’t a few. I think I might start documenting them when I’ll finish my EVS I will have dozens of photos of mostly grafitti but it will be worth it.

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I always liked walking around without a certain destination in my mind and sometimes I just try a different road which I’ve never been before, waiting to see where I end up. Just a few days ago I did this and by mistake I got to the highest point in Lviv in the High Castle park where you have a 360o view of the entire city. You never know what to expect while wondering around which is part of the excitement and why I like doing this.

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Also the ukrainian classes just started last week and I already discovered similar words with romanian while some of them are exactly the same, which is nice to have some familiarity when you are in a foreign country and you don’t speak the language yet. My plan is to become fluent in ukrainian by the end of my 6 months here so I’ll keep you posted about my progress, hopefully I’m not too optimistic about it and I’ll manage to do it 😀

Besides the ukrainian class I am attending english speaking club meetings every week and I get to meet different people from locals to foreigners living here or who come here on their holidays, and the one’s I’ve met so far are from England, Poland, Turkey or Japan. I will keep going to these meetings because they can be a lot of fun and later, once my vocabualry expands a bit I will try the ukrainian speaking clubs to get my conversational skills on track. Wish me luck!

I will come back with fresh info about my life here! See you later!   Па Па 😀

P.S : It rains quite a lot here so if you think about coming to Lviv make sure you have an umbrella with you because you never really know when you might need it.