Friday, September 05, 2008

DT in Ukraine - teaching English in summer camps

Having decided to devote 2 months in summer at development traineeship around Europe, and getting the offer from AIESEC Dnipropetrovsk in Ukraine, I accepted the conditions and travelled to the place of "Undiscovered Europe" (

After arrival, local members of AIESEC took care: being picked from the train station, moving to spend few days at one AIESECer's place and eating straight after in the national canteen Puzata Hata (Пузата хата), I felt their warm hospitality. They helped me as well with all the necessary "you must do after arrival" stuff, took me for the walk along the longest embankment in Europe (Dnepr river) and prepared a very nice picnic style welcome!

I met my boss, director of English language school. My task was teaching kids (aged 8-16) English in summer camps at the sea shore of Black sea .

That required leaving Dnipropetrovsk behind and travelling 600 kms to Crimea peninsula.
From this moment on, all necessary communication with AIESEC was possible only through mobile phones, but generally there were no hot issues to solve.
On the other hand, I had no chance to get to know more deeply the AIESEC culture there nor meet any other trainees.

My day in the camp included time at the beach with kids, 2-4 English lessons (each 60 minutes) with materials from boss, helping out with the evening programme.
Accommodation and food was provided for free, I received small pocket money every week.

Basically, the work/life with kids was amazing (!)
Being with them all the time in the camp (note: each camp was max. 25 kids), playing and having fun together, having personal conversation from time to time to support their building of self-esteem, and simply becoming one of them - these are moments to be experienced!

Only you know how it is to receive sincere smiles all the time, what the curious eyes of a 10-yrs old boy wanting to know more about your country mean, that by your attitude towards to life you may actually have some positive indirect influence on others..

Don't want this to sound as cliche, but there were few moments that challenged and tested my flexibility, cultural sensitivity and perception of human beings in general.

And to call this as "Ukrainian experience" - having visited Kiev and the Tatar city Bakchisaray , gaining new friends and feeling the country is smoothly getting under my skin, I know Ukraine deserves more of my time to be explored and experienced fully! ;)


Hana Hart.

PS: If you spending summer time in summer camps, feel free to get in touch with me (AIESEC Praha may provide you with my contact details) - I would have some advices for you ;)


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