3 Dec 2015

BE HERE TO DARE, 8 month EVS in Latvia

Association "Georgian Youth for Europe" (GYE) already for many years have cooperation with Vecpiebalga Youth Centre "Balgas Strops" from Latvia. Together we have been implementing many youth exchanges and trainings. Therefor when "Balgas Strops" decide to host their first EVS, they gave us this honour to be their first sending organisation from partner countries. The main aim to carry out this project was to change geographical and social isolation of young people from Vecpiebalga region to the active participation based on possibilities; to give local youth not only the chance for those who can go some time to some youth exchange, but also to all local youth with fewer opportunities to experience different cultures, to know different traditions, histories and politics and to get new skills, attitudes and views. The mission of the project - with support of European volunteers open the world full of opportunities for local youth in Vecpiebalga region.

Giorgi Beridzishvili from Georgia (Sending organisation GYE) done his EVS service in "Balgas Strops", Latvia from 15.01-31.08.2015. Giorgi about his motivation to take part in this project: "As in future I want to find myself in youth work, this project was the start, I could test myself how good can I be in this field. Improve my skills, gain new experiences, travel around the country, spread information about my own culture and learn about new one-are my motivation for EVS. You might ask why I choose Latvia for my EVS. I’ve never been there before but I have Latvian friends and knew some things about it. It seemed to be a very interesting. So I really liked to get know the people, their culture and their way of life. Besides, I always wanted to visit northern countries, so that was twice interesting for me."

More about Giorgi experience and Vecpiebalga Youth Centre "Balga Strops" activities you can fallow in their blog -https://youthcentrevecpiebalga.wordpress.com/

Also if you are interested to apply for EVS there, please contact us! liene@gye.ge 

Project was funded with support of Latvian National Agency of Erasmus Plus EVS programm. More information here - http://ec.europa.eu/…/erasmus-p…/discover/guide/index_en.htm

28 May 2015

Long Term EVS In Slovakia

My name is Tornike Togonidze and I had a wonderful one year EVS in the  beautiful country of Slovakia, so I would like to share some feelings, emotions and experiences that I had during this time.
I became a member of the Non Governmental Organisation "Georgian Youth For Europe" in 2013.  I was involved in several exchange programs in Georgia just before going for Evs.  It was my firs time going abroad, so my sending organisation made a pre departure meeting and  explained everything.  Later, they helped me get a visa.
My hosting organisation was friendly and everybody treated me like a new member of the family they gave me Slovak language lessons and they have never been late.  Also, for delivering pocket money on the .first one month at new home was little bit difficult I had to get used to a new culture, new people, new traditions, and a new language, but after the  first month I felt at home.
What about work and free time  We had to work from 30 to 35 hours per week, so if you worked 7 hours during 5 days and if you also worked in shifts during the weekend next week you would have 3 free days to visit the surrounding sights not only in the capital city but also in neighbouring countries.
One of my favourite parts of EVS was On arrival and Midterm trainings when you with other EVS volunteers from all around Sovakia meet and get to know each other. We had a little bit  of a delay because of the new Erasmus plus project, but it was worth the wait.  During this time I met new people from all around the world and got to known lots of different cultures and traditions gained new friends.  We were like family, we had parties almost all the time and what is the best thing during mid term is that after training you can visit them in their cities and villages.  They also come and visit you too, so you never lose contact or friendship
Something negative about my EVS was that you  always miss your family, friends, and relatives.  I was wanted to see them just for one minute, hug them and get back to EVS.  Also, winter in Slovakia is so long that even in mid April it is possible to snow.  We had -12 degrees once, so it is a little bit boring because you can not go out from the house, but you figure out how to spend your time.  With table games, you can survive!
To make a long story short,  now I am in Georgia and I really miss Slovakia.  If you compare how many possibilities you have when you are EVS, you will realize how great the opportunity is.  I want to thank everyone for helping me to become EVS and helping me to find myself and let me enjoy the best one year in my life.  I advise  all youngsters to try EVS once in your life .  After finishing it, you will feel that one year, simply is not enough.

24 Apr 2015

Romania EVS story of Tamaz

Volunteering in local school
Hello , my name is Tazo . I did my 1 year  EVS project in Romania, in organization called YMCA . Organization staff was friendly and helpful during this time. We did lot of events, trainings, that was fun to participate. My project was about working with children from the ages of 5 to 14. I went to schools in the city , nearby village and to gypsy children in Romani Center. I had one project partner , her name was Salome and she was from France. After couple of months working together we formed a really good team and working was really fun. Here is a picture at one of our schools .

Beauty of  nature in Romania
Except us there were other volunteers in my town . I met good people , which are now my friends and we keep in touch after our projects. After work, on weekends and vacations we went hiking, swimming, travelling in Romania, made dinners together. Living and understanding people from all around the world is a really great experience. I managed to learn Romanian language , to know more about other countries and traditions. Romania has beautiful nature , I went there with the intention to see as much as I could . This is the picture from Transfagarasan , we were heading to Moldoveanu peak.
Tazo and his travel mate during free days of his EVS service time

To sum it up, I am glad that I did EVS. I gained lot of friends and positive features during this time . I encourage people to do it, because it`s a good adventure.


GYE note:
Tazo Kvitashvili done his EVS service in Romania from April 2014 to March 2015 in the frame of project "YOU(TH) ARE GOLDEN".
His sending organisation was Association "Georgian Youth For Europe". 
Hosting organisation: YMCA Romania. 

Please find links to have a better idea about the  project outcomes and activities.

Some of  videos created by Tazo and project partner:

GYE office is located in Batumi str 22, Rustavi city, Georgia. We are open for visitors every working day from 11am till 6pm.

16 Apr 2015

Salo Bye Bye :'( Keti welcome party :)

Few months ago our beloved EVS coordinator Salome decided to leave GYE and move on with her life. We, volunteers, were happy for her since she will probably get an awesome job as a tour guide but on the other hand we would miss her a lot since she was “our coordinator, our friend, mother and sometimes a daughter (Armonaityte, 2015)”. Luckily for us, Alex made a reasonable choice and picked an amazing new EVS coordinator for us – Kety. Since farewells and welcomes are always a good opportunity for celebrations, we decided to celebrate in a Georgian style and all together. The original idea – to have a classic supra - eat and drink until you puke, was nice enough, but when Gigi came with an invitation into his house in Sagarejo, it was abandoned immediately. Idea of spending a night in Georgian village with all our friends, some sashlik and nice vine was so exciting for us that the whole organization met on Sunday, 29th of March and moved to a nice village of Sagarejo, about 40 minutes of marshrutka ride from Rustavi.

Weather did not allow us to discover all the beauties of Tochliauri but the day was saved by Rosto who prepared the fireplace and Lembit who brought Scrable. After few hours of intensive preparation our main cooks – Achiko, Vaxo, Alex and Vato finished the dinner and all of us together could finally enjoy a proper Georgian supra starting with amazing cheese and bread, continuing with chicken cooked and chicken baked, sashlik and ending with traditional horn drinking. After heartbreaking toasts delivered by our toastmaster Achiko teambuilding and fun continued till the late night.

I have to say, that meeting such a nice people at such a nice place while enjoying an awesome food was a very pleasant experience for me and I believe that for all volunteers and staff as well. GYE proved once again that in contrary to other associations, it is not just an organization but a small family and people involved are not just colleagues but good friends. 

25 Feb 2015

So, what are your impressions of Georgia ?*

I have been in Rustavi for 1 month now and if I am not homesick, I still don't really feel at home here. But actually I kind of like it because every day comes with its challenges and I am slowly adapting to this new environment and its weird weather. Yes, weird, because we had a little survey of spring in February and then, suddenly, the big white snow came. Only for one day. After that the sun came back and as I am writing today, the rain is pouring its sadness down on us.

My opinion of this city is kind of divided. If I like its old part with its nice architectures (even though some of the buildings are almost falling down) I don't really appreciate the new Rustavi. But I think that it's something common to most of the cities, the old town is often nicer than the new one.

My Georgian is really really reeeeally limited for now and it's too bad, not only because it makes it difficult to ask for something in a shop or whatsoever, but mostly because sometimes you want to talk with people even if it's about something irrelevant. Every time someone tries to have a talk with me I feel completely helpless because I can't give them any answer, I would like but I can't.

Well, enough of this melodramatic mood. Every time a Georgian asks me my impressions of Georgia, they expect me to say that I don't like, for instance, people staring at me, being rude or anything else. But the truth is that it's the same everywhere so it's not the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about Georgia. When I say that I like this country, some of them are surprised. I mean, it's quite normal for me to appreciate its beautiful landscapes, its dishes (I'm in love with the lobio), the nice people I meet, and all the little things which remind me that the life here is a bit different than the one I have in France, those are some of the reasons for why I am here.

*question people asked me a thousand times

13 Jan 2015

Are we there yet?

A little bit of prehistory:

So here I am, an ordinary 23 year old girl, trying to think of whatever it is to just finally get out of her shell and enjoy life to the fullest. Simple as that. Good thing that some damn lucky people can actually enroll to one of these programs for the young and go to places that normally be out of reach for us. So, as of right now, I'm officially an EVS volunteer in Georgia. FOR A WHOLE YEAR! And here it is. My life awaits. After a very long time of organizing things and trying to get everything in order my experience begins. And let me just say, that I'm not going to try to sugarcoat anything. And hey, whoever might be reading this, I hope one lost soul (with a cute little rebel, dying within) can find another one. Hey you, yes you, I like you already!

Day of my arrival to Georgia, Tbilisi. October 2, around 4:30 am. Three other (local) volunteers Nini, Maxo and Rosto, that will be our mentors come to pick us up from the airport. We wait for another volunteer from Slovakia, Livia, to come and then head straight back to our apartment. Aaand here it is! My new home. The city of Rustavi, which in the past (Soviet times to be precise) used to be an industrial city, built just for factory workers. The part where I live seems like a time capsule and reminds me one of those stories that my mum or my granny used to tell. Let's just say (and I'm going to be honest about it)... well I guess in times it's going to be grey. While the city is actually divided into the New and Old Rustavi and turns out to be not so small of a city, there is something right there in the air, and you can feel it. The city needs life. It needs to live again. Or just finally start living. You can feel this in people's eyes when they try to look at you with this curious look, asking "Who are you?" and "What are you going to do in here?".

I share a flat with two other volunteers, Lembit, who comes from Estonia and is an extremely smart guy, and a girl name Livia, who I feel sometimes is my lost twin sister. In the next few days we went out to explore the city, and gosh, let me just tell you how excited I actually was! One small thing though, when you do travels like this one, well, not really travels, but living experiences, or how should you call them (?) it's important not to get your stakes too high. Simply because a) cultural shock does exist, and is in fact not a myth b) you're actually dealing with life. Not just super fun trips around the country or big parties (FYI, I do not consider myself a party person). Not at all. It's life, people. Life with ups and downs. Anyway, our trip to the supermarket was in fact the funniest moment of all. So far.

Can you imagine you walk to a SUPERmarket, and there's no electricity. Like no electricity. Like cashiers working with candles on and things like that? One thing I love about Georgians is their ability to adapt to these practical things. No electricity? Fine, I'll just get a candle. No water today? (Yes, it happens) Fine, I have some over there in kitchen; I've filled all the empty buckets just last night. Wonderful, isn't it? Let me just say, that so far my experience with people is very limited, but yes, if you ever heard about Georgian hospitality and how helpful people can be, yes, it's true. I'm sure there's much more to people and I'm sure so many life lessons await me. I just hope I'm ready. So much of chaos within an order. So much of order within a chaos. But hey, you can't have everything, can you?

Or take the amazing trip to the Istanbuli bazaar, where people go to buy everything. Such a rush, I'm not even kidding! Maxo helped us figure things out there, but the amazing part was him introducing us with his friends and family on the way to the market; stopping to say hi, or wave a hello to everyone he knew. I mean normally you would just go to the market in your neighborhood and that would be it. You might say hi to a friendly face, but not more. Well, at least for me that would be it, nothing more. Instead, we were politely introduced to everyone and even had a friendly ride with a car, making our way shorter. Such a friendly guy, I'll tell ya that.

And then there was Tbilisi... God bless this city, it's amazing, y'all. So amazing :). And hey, Tbilisi is a very beautiful city, did I tell you that? Loved it. Totally took my breath away. Just like that. But I guess I will be needing a separate post for that.

We finally started learning Georgian, which for me is the most difficult language ever, especially the pronunciation. But the mentors that we have are really nice to us, they're really helpful and thoughtful when it comes to understanding us.

Next week I will begin teaching, which for now is my main task in here. So far I'm just trying to prepare and see how it goes. I don't know much about Georgian mentality, but a guy name Erekle, who will help me with Spanish in here once said that Georgians are proud but shy. I didn't experience that myself, but I guess time will show.

Hey, and about time - time runs differently when you're away, you know that, right? Every minute of it is just screaming different things at you, saying "Life is so odd and beautiful, go out there!".

Bye for now. Or as Georgians say, nachvamdis.