Story by Katharina Betker

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I spent my EVS in Nizhny Novgorod from October 2012 to June 2013. My project was located in the regional children’s library. For those interested in this project, IT’S NOT BORING AT ALL!!! It ‘s a great chance to make something you would like, e.g. develop a project on your and also to spend good time at a really comfortable and cosy working place. I spent the first week involved in the preparative for the events of the German year in the library. My duty was to prepare a presentation about my country and myself and to present it during these days. Moreover I helped to choose some books and other decoration materials for the expositions. Apart from the library duties, as all volunteers did, I took part of a festival for orphans organised by volunteers as well. At the end of October I spent a week in a children’s camp, organised by a schoolteacher. There I was asked if I would be interested to work for some hours a week in the first high school with German orientation in Nizhny Novgorod. After the holydays some hours a week became three hours a day and sometimes even on Saturdays. So I had the morning at school and the afternoon in the library. In spring I went again to the children’s camp organised by the schoolteacher, and then for one week to Smolensk where we had a camp in a rehabilitation centre with a group of youngsters from Wales. I took also part on a project organised by SFERA and another volunteer for the promotion all over Russia of youth camps and volunteering abroad.

The library staff is really kind and they enjoy it when you just come and talk whit them. But please remark that nobody but Liudmila Viktorna speaks English (anyway there are Russian lessons twice a week, and the teacher-Mila- is very very kind).The library is big so I didn’t know everybody but still the women from the technical office or them from the neighbour departments. There is a parrot-Charlie- living in the department of sciences, he can’t talk now, but maybe some volunteer could help him a bit J. The most important person in the library is Liudmila Victorna. Working with her means that you already have a russian adoptive mother. She fed us with confetis (chocolate) and tea and tea and tea and tea.

Liudmila asked us to go to some schools with her, and help her with power point presentations about different subjects. So once or twice a month we went to a school or a school class came into the library and we showed them what we had prepared. The last two months of my project, wich a spent mostly travelling somewhere in Russia where dedicated to my own project. I organised two Skype conferences between my classes from the school and a class from a primary school in Mönchberg (Bavaria). The second small project consisted of two interviews, one in the national children’s library of the Chechen Republic in Grozny and the other in the national children’s library of Gorno-Altaysk in the Altai Republic (Russia) (internet)

Beside the “work” as a volunteer I had the opportunity to make two big travels around Russia, one in the Republic of Altai and the other one to the Northern Caucasus, which where one of the most impressive moments in my life. I had also the opportunity, thanks some project, the on-arrival and mid-term training or just during long weekends to visit Moscow, Sankt-Petersburg, Samara, Ufa, Tcheliabinsk, Orenburg, Kazan, Vladimir, Rostov-Veliki, Smolensk and the surroundings of Nizhny Novgorod. Last but and not least: people in Nizhny Novgorod and generally in Russia are famous for their gostiprimnost (hospitality) and I never felt lonely or homesick, because when I was in Nizhny I was at home. Since the first days I was surrounded by nice people – my roomies Magda and Renata – who waited for me when I arrived in the middle of the night and prepared me a dinner, and by all the new friends I met especially during the first time but also during the rest of EVS. I had the best and most caring coordinator you can get (a great thank to Irina Nikulina from SFERA), a good working and serious hosting organisation SFERA.

So what are you waiting for?