Stowarzyszenie Projektów Międzynarodowych „INPRO”

EVS in Russia

EVS in Russia

Russia was fascinating to me ever since I can remember. Maybe it is because of the Russian fairy tales to which I was listening to as a child. Maybe it because of the tumultuous history which I was interested in during my high school years. Maybe it’s just pure curiosity about the country itself because it is a country full of contrasts, breathtaking nature, different languages and cultures. Years of a fascination of this part of the world brought me to an EVS project in the city of St. Petersburg.

 

About the project.

My name is Justyna and I am working was organisation “Perspektivy” in St. Petersburg. The association tries to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities as well as supporting their families. The range of the activities done by the organisation is wide and diverse intended for both children and adults.

I am helping in a special school, where children spend their time from Monday to Friday. On average, there are five kids with various disorders including autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy.

Pupils are attending different classes which you can divide into two basic categories. First one, are all of the classes that you and I had while we were at school: writing, reading or mathematics. They are, however, conducted in level adjusted to the level of the students. They also have physical education or art classes. The other category is the classes that the purpose is to teach children how to cope better with surrounding reality.

A thing worth pointing out is the way we work with students. The classes are much more individualized because kids have different intellectual and physical capabilities. The most important thing for pedagogue, as well as for me, is to encourage pupils to communicate with others and signalising their needs. It brings me much satisfaction when I can see the I have better relations and communication with another person.

“Perspektivy” is also organising various workshops and meetings. This is to better prepare their volunteers in their work and help them find themselves in case of problematic situations.

St. Petersburg and Russia

A couple of months living in St. Petersburg is not enough to really get to know this city. The amount of places to see and museums to visit is unbelievable. The city is beautiful no matter the time of the year. The most fascinating element, for me personally, is the people. Cautious and reserved at the beginning but spend some time with them and you will get to experience their warmth and kindness.

The project lasts for a full year so there is also plenty of time to travel and for discovering Russia. Knowing a lot of stereotypes about this country, while I was here, I wanted to see if they are true. The observations I could make made me reflect upon some of them, broadening my horizons and the acceptance of the world.

The one thing I truly got to experience while on the project was Russian tea. Here it’s used for many things: to talk, get to know someone, show support or just to rest. It is a symbol of kindness and hospitality all over the country. Forever, this is going to be my fondest memory from the many times I was invited to have a tea.