Category: Blog
“Місяць дипломатії у Львові” очима учасників

У рамках “Місяця дипломатії у Львові” ми провели серію заходів, спрямованих на розвиток обізнаності молоді про міжнародну співпрацю і політику, міжкультурну комунікацію та можливості для української молоді. Учасники відвідали консульства Німеччини та Канади, послухали про діяльність відділу міжнародних зв’язків Львівської обласної державної адміністрації, поспілкувалися з очільником “Інституту міста” про сучасне і майбутнє Львова. навчилися дипломатично відстоювати свою позицію, а ще дізналися про EVS волонтерство з перших вуст. І що найголовніше – учасники вже мають ідеї цікавих проектів і міжуніверситетської співпраці.  А ось їхні враження від проекту.

“Місяць дипломатії” для мене – це цікаві лекції, корисна інформація та нові відкриття. Особисто я отримала відповіді на питання, з якими прийшла, а  саме: як працюють консульства та державні установи, які нюанси їхньої роботи та які можливості для молоді. Реальність не завжди співпадає з очікуванням, тому засмутив той факт, що важко пройти стажування в консульствах, але водночас це мотивує для подальшої роботи над собою, щоб стати одним з тих, хто зміг це зробити. Нові друзі та однодумці – це ще один приємний бонус. Щиро вдячна за можливість долучитись до проекту та надіюсь на продовження проекту.” (Наталія Яцишин, студентка факультету “Міжнародні економічні відносини” Національного університету “Львівська політехніка”)

 

“Цей проект став для мене «першою цеглинкою», фундаментом для розвитку дипломатичних навичок  та вмінь не тільки у стінах університету, а й поза його межами. Саме в рамках «Місяця дипломатії у Львові» я вперше відвідала Почесні консульства, ознайомилася з особливостями та викликами роботи консула і його референта. Я люблю брати участь в таких проектах не тільки через заплановані події, які є важливими для мене як студента-міжнародника, а й через  нові знайомства, налагодження комунікації.  Крім того ці події стали поштовхом до виникнення нових ідей і великого бажання втілювати їх у життя.  Я безмежно вдячна організаторам за таку можливість побути ближче до дипломатичного середовища, стати його частинкою.  Адже саме це допомогло мені  визначити ключові пріоритетні моменти  для саморозвитку.” (Христина Калинчук, студентка спеціальності «Міжнародні відносини, суспільні комунікації та регіональні студії» Національного університету «Львівська політехніка»)

 

“Коли ти обираєш спеціальність «міжнародні відносини», варто розуміти, що ти “підписуєшся”  перш за все на активність. І чим раніше ти це зрозумієш, тим більше ти зможеш досягти у своїй професії. Отак одного вечора я побачила набір на проект “Місяць дипломатії”. Звичайно, зупинитися на цьому пості мене змусило слово “дипломатія”. Не була впевнена, що оберуть саме мене, оскільки кількість учасників була обмежена, але варто було спробувати (як виявилося згодом, недарма). Коли вже повідомили, що я пройшла, радість змінилася питанням “а що ж там буде?”.  І от вже позаду сім цікавих, інформативних зустрічей. Ми відвідали німецьке, канадське консульства, мали можливість послухати працівників Львівської обласної державної адміністрації, дізналися про міжнародні обміни від волонтерок з Італії Марти та Валентіни, а також відвідали дуже креативний відділ у Львівській міській раді під назвою “Інститут міста”. Справді, програма була насичена і різноманітна, проте ще один і, мабуть, найважливіший плюс – це нові люди. Познайомилася й з колегами із інших університетів і дізналася, хто ще навчається в моєму універститеті. Дякую організаторам, за цей прекрасний проект. Сподіваюся, що він матиме продовження.  (Анна Лукасевич , студентка спеціальності міжнародні відносини, суспільні комунікації та регіональні студії, Національного університету “Львівська політехніка”)

“Щиро дякую Інституту Суспільних Ініціатив за можливість зсередини побачити життя української дипломатії! Але найцікавішими для мене стали не лише зустрічі з консулами та держслужбовцями, а нові завзяті друзі, з якими нас об’єднав проект «Місяць дипломатії». Разом з ними ми вирішили відкинути міф про протистояння Університету та Політехніки та створити спільний проект для майбутніх дипломатів!” (Еліза Кравченко, факультет міжнародних відносин, Львівський національний університет імені Івана Франка)

EQUALIZE EVS BLOG PART 9

BEYOND EYES

Sometimes on your life path you meet people that don’t care about anyone, other than who is making them feel confident. They seems to soften their heart only in specific situations, with specific people. They rather put out your light than find their own. They don’t see beyond their ability to judge who is trying all his efforts to be kind and compassionate.
At See Beyond I finally met some people who gave me the feelings of caring for Others. People who accept and are sincere with their own emotions and therefore can perceive and embrace others’ emotions.
I have always known that people who are not afraid of showing their weaknesses and their feelings are the stronger ones. And I got the confirmation of this during the Art Residence. I really needed to meet people who do not have masks, whose eyes are sincere and express their own world. People who reply to your kindness with other kindness; people who appreciate you and tell you about that.

I love to see beyond eyes. But this is possible only with certain people. Through performance, I understood that some people are “naked” in showing themselves, others have a mask of naivety which has no audience, other than their own kind. The curious thing is that this mask takes on a different colour according to the situation, the only thing that remains is the steady hand to hold the mask up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At SEE BEYOND I took my shyness off and I enabled my soul to see beyond . Beyond my own world, beyond my guilts, beyond my insecurities. To see myself through other eyes.

I looked through others’ eyes and I discovered new worlds. I found out new words. I understood that everyone has a story to tell, but when you read it through the eyes it worth twice.

EVS as Art Theatre

In this article, I would like to talk about linguistic and cultural barriers. As you might know, living in a country where you have little or no-knowledge of the local language can be a real challenge. And that it’s definitely my case, as my expertise in Ukrainian language is not enough to understand informal conversations and discussions about complex topics. This very often results for me in feeling excluded from the external environment. Your perceptions of reality change a lot, as you don’t understand things as they really are, but as your imagination thinks them to be. Also people are not real, but they are the result of your mind processing information is not sure about.

Moreover, very often you feel invisible as for other people you simply don’t exist. And despite your big efforts to be open, helpful and smiling with all kind of people you encounter in your way, sometimes you don’t receive the same attentions. Better said, you receive them only when someone needs you. So that everyone will turn to you extremely kind and polite ( sometimes even not) asking you to perform a great variety of actions as for example validating others’ tickets on the tram.

In other words, it seems that people consider you only because they need you to be there at that precise moment. And that’s all. So my question very often has been “how to feel appreciated for who you really are?” Such a big one, you might think. Right, totally true, I am sure I am not the only one struggling with this questions. And when I am abroad, far from my family and closest friends, I think this feeling is even stronger due to the desire of fitting in and very often due to the frustration resulting from trying to merge with locals.

However, the event I am participating in, that is See Beyond Art Residence, gave me the answer. Better said, all beautiful young people participating in this workshop gave me the answer. And this is precisely Art and Music. In fact, both kind of arts involve a bunch of people from diverse cultural backgrounds and context without having to speak the same language. And they will understand and feel understood. And that’s because, as one girl told me “You don’t need to understand Art, but to feel Art. So I will just imagine my EVS experience to be an Art Theatre Performance. People surrounding me to be pure Music and Art. I will be both Spectator and Protagonist. Because only through this way I will be close to the True meaning of this experience. And I will finally understand it and get understood.

EQUALIZE EVS BLOG PART 7

Photography: a new way of looking at reality

“A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the deepest sense and is, thereby, a true expression of what one feels about life in its entirety”. Ansel Adams

Some weeks  ago Anna, our coordinator, came up with the idea of providing us with a Media Workshop.
A series of interactive meetings on photography techniques, videomaking strategies and composition basic skills. When I heard this, at first I was perplexed, I am sincere.
I like art and photography but I have never considered to be involved in a media course or develop my knowledge in this field. I have always admired  other friends of mine who are excellent photographers, but I have always lived this art at a certain distance. I have just replied yes to Anna’s proposal because one of the things I learnt in life is never say no to new opportunities.

Thus, I approached the workshop with some skepticism but I tried my best to put the teachings into practice. The first task was to go around our neighborhood in Sykhiv and take pictures of different patterns and elements. My perfectionist mindset helped me to not take the task as a game but take the photography strategies seriously.
The techniques our photography expert Piotr explained to us were clear to me at the end of the theory part and I didn’t wait a minute to take my mobile phone and experiment them.

           
At the end of the first meeting I found myself completely in love with this practice. I took 60 pictures of different things that looking back I would have never considered to take photographs of, before the workshop.  I learnt that beauty is in everyday life, in the small things, in stupid things that we often take for granted. I learnt that behind every photograph there are thousands of meanings. I understood that different perspectives are fine, that “what is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly”.

Photography is more than a picture. It is more than the representation of a single object, of a person, of a landscape. It is a state of mind, it is a story that tells life, it is a declaration of feelings. Photography is subjective and this makes it even more fascinating.
I have never liked objective things (maths, first of all!). I like that one object is explained in different ways, according to the viewer’s opinion. One element, thousands of meanings. One element, thousands of memories. It is like life, isn’t it?
Photography is the philosophy of life. How you perceive what is in front of you, it is just a feeling you have inside you.

Kiev: the voiceless city

Last week-end,  I had the opportunity to go to Kiev to visit my aunty from Ukraine, newest member of my big and crazy Italian family. Soon after starting our reunion with a delicious pizza, we went to the city center for a walk, making slowly our way under a quick and unexpected rain.

As soon as I reached the heart of the city, I have been conquered by the majesty and beauty of its buildings and churches. Rus-Byzantine ecclesiastical architecture, colorful frescoes and mosaics, baroque churches, terraced gardens, my eyes were flattered by the mixture of different cultures and styles. Moreover, in occasion of the day of Europe, government buildings were even more shining and flashy.

However, since the beginning, I noticed there was something unusual: big shops flaunting luxury and richness were almost empty inside, as well as government buildings, as they  were not opened to the public. In fact, as the guard said  “something was going on  between Brussels and local representatives of the Institutions and visits  were not allowed”.

What is more, my Ukrainian aunty seemed not to be aware of  the beauties of Kiev city center, as if she had been there only few times. Indeed, she asked me to let her know what I wanted to visit since she told me: “ I don’t know where else  to go, I come to the city center only to meet my daughter who lives at the university residence and to have lunch with her”. And again “ City center is only a very touristic place: only tourists and business men come here”.

In other words, there was a voice unheard behind the high rise apartments, government buildings  and  expensive shops. And it was the voice of all the people who could not access the beauty of Kiev city center: those  living in the outskirts of the city, those earning a low level salary to sustain all the expenses for a living, those who don’t participate in public life and those whose the monthly pension is the same price of an expensive hat.

This experience left me a bit sad, but even more willing to keep working towards a more sustainable and equal society, where wealth can be accessed by the majority of population and metaphorically, the city center can be opened to everybody.

 

EQUALIZE EVS BLOG PART 5

A special birthday in the woods

A lot of people get really homesick around their birthday and I was one of them. I was thinking that this year I wouldn’t do anything particular during my special day, but at the end I was wrong.

My birthday was on Sunday, so I thought it was nice to organize a picnic in the park in order to enjoy the good weather and spend some nice time surrounded by nature. As always, weather is crazy and do not follow rules and that morning it was not so sunny as I expected. But I didn’t give up and I decided to challenge the clouds that appeared in the sky. After the picnic, my colleagues organized a very special barbecue in the woods, something that I have always dreamt of doing. We had some meat, vegetables and mojitos to cheer us up and they even brought a cake with candles!

I sincerely did not expect anthing of this! As I have just arrived 2 months ago I didn’t expect my flatmate and colleagues to arrange anything and I knew they had really busy schedules .
It was a big surprise for me to have the opportunity to spend my birthday with them and having a little party in such a special setting.

Spending the birthday away from home seems quite strange. It is strange but at the same time it is funny and emotional. It’s completely different and this makes it even more special.
From this experience I learnt that it does not matter how far you are from home, there’s always a way to celebrate your birthday with new “adventure mates” that make every effort to make you happy.
I understood that people make everything better. And above all, I understood that you are never alone.

EQUALIZE EVS BLOG PART 4

Highlights of a perfect flat mate

 

Journeys are made by the people you travel with

People are an essential part in our EVS journey and we will never forget about them once back home. Today we want to give a brief portrait of Andriy:  our collegue, flatmate and lastly but no least, friend!! Well known for his amazing problem solving skills and his sweetness, he soon became a Handy Manny for us.  What’s the reason behind his nick-name? Whenever there is an emergency, he will be there in perfect time and conditions.

You get blocked inside your flat? Don’t worry Handy Andriy will come in less than one hour to rescue you!  Is there a fire In the kitchen? He will wake up in the middle of his morning dreams and give support to you! You don’t know what’s the gas code of your apartment? He will answer your phone call in one second! Is there a spider in the living room? He will take his yoga mat and throw it away!

But let’s skip now to his real life job. He is working in our NGO ( Society Initiatives Institute) as a project assistant, being in charge of several tasks… better said everything! For instance he is responsible for logistics of the main events taking place in Lviv and legal issues of our organization.

He is indeed a real handyman!

He is not afraid of experiencing new tasks and going out of his comfort zone. When it comes to speak in public, he  can’t wait to show off his excellent knowledge of the English language. And he is aware of his outstanding  capabilities, as he made it clear to us since the first day:  “my English is the best in the organization”.  

He is a fundamental part in our lives and he is making our EVS full of joy, enriching us with his positive vibes.  

EQUALIZE EVS BLOG PART 3 – Ukraine and Peru : not too far apart

After spending 12 months working at a local NGO in Peru, I have decided to move to Ukraine to experience a new adventure in a context completely different from the Peruvian one. But, despite being at the  opposite side of the world, these two countries have some similarities. What a surprise! Let’s have a look at them!

# Ukrainian Mamitas

My favorite ones: elderly women selling informally their products on the streets. It’s plenty of Peruvian mamitas here in Ukraine as well. They might have different outfit but same scope and objectives:  taking care of your health and make sure you wake up with a smile every day.

#The rain

Here it comes the rain…again!! Yes, here in Lviv it rains a lot as well. There is not a fixed separation between  rainy and sunny seasons as in Peruvian Andes, but the rain is present  throughout all year long. Depending on the season,  it can take many forms, including snow, hailstorm and thick rain. It makes the way to the office a real challenge as cars and trams often  get stuck in muddy roads.

#Transportation system

Here in Ukraine the word for combi is marshrukta and they are as crazy as in Peru. With a slight little difference. Much more crowded and without traditional music (cumbia) playing all the time. You don’t know where they stop or which is their direction, but somebody will tell you, better said, will push you when it’s time to get off.

#Railroads

And finally, speaking about challenges, crossing railroads is one of them. Yes because it’s always a railroad that separates me from getting to the office.  This time I don’t have to be careful because of crazy combis whizzing on the street. But I have to pay attention to trains making slowly their way to the central station.

 

 

Шукаємо волонтерів на EVS проект у Словаччині
Наші партнери громадська організація People in Need Slovakia запрошує взяти участь у довготерміновому волонтерському проекті у Словаччині.
Who we are?
NGO  People in Need Slovakia which is focusing on humanitarian, development aid and social integration programs.
What is the project about?
A long-term strategec EVS project F.A.M.E. – FEELING AS A MEAN OF EDUCATION
Who are we looking for?

Volunteers, who will take part in the project will work in our community centers all around Slovakia in challenging but very enriching environment of socially-disadvantaged Roma communities.  We prefer to co-operate with open-minded, flexible and active volunteers.

What are the requirements?

We search for long term (12-months) volunteers motivated to work with children and youngsters mostly from Roma communities in our community centers all around Slovakia.
How to apply?
We are focusing on those candidates, who would be able to start within the first wave of volunteers – in June. Send us the CV and Cover letter maria.mydliarova@clovekvohrozeni.sk and we will have the skype interview with the candidate.
Deadline 1.05.2018
More information about our organisation you can find here:
https://clovekvohrozeni.sk/about-us/

EqUalize EVS blog Part 2

Valentina

Time relativity and loud reflections

I have been living in Ukraine for one month and it seems like it was yesterday when I got off the plane with heavy suitcases full of hope and enthusiasm. Time is strange! When you are fine and happy, time flies so fast.
My friends from Italy have been asking me how I am and the answer is always the same:“ I am adapting”. Adapting has a negative connotation for many people, but for me it hasn’t. Actually in my opinion it is a word that contains the whole essence of living in another country and embracing a different culture. Adaptation means to challenge your beliefs and accept a different mentality. It means understanding that you have to overcome your limits,like it or not.
These thoughts about time and adaptation resulted from a journey to Kiev some weeks ago. We participated in a training which was held in a resort outside the capital, in a village that I defined “Winter Wonderland” as we were surrounded by a forest full of snow.
Snow makes everything magic. It falls slowly and covers everything before you realize it. The same happens with time. When you are busy with something and you like what you are doing, you don’t realize that it’s passing by.
Time relativity has always fascinated me, and I am also fascinated by the fact that everytime I move to another country I find some similarities with other places I have been to.
I get excited about little things. For example here in Lviv I fell in love with the building in front of my flat, as it reminds me of London ( my favourite city in the world) and with some buildings near the supermarket that remind me of the residences in a seaside resort where I spend my summer holidays.
I am a “LOUD OBSERVER”, as I love the planet I am living in and I want to share this love with everyone.
Will Ukraine be able to appease this loud spirit and surprise me so much that I will savor my Lviv life silently? We will see!