"Our mission is to assist in the reformation of Ukraine consistent with European standards, as well as to introduce democratic values and develop civil society in Ukraine."

From the Statute of
the Center for European Initiatives

11.09.14 12:49

Madam from Amsterdam


Her bike was seen everywhere in the city, her look was familiar to many students and schoolchildren, and her events were always well-attended. The EVS volunteer Jara Snippe from the Netherlands was part of the Center for European Initiatives team from February to March this year. The project "Learning for Europe" supported by Youth in Action Programme aimed at introducing European values, culture and traditions to young Ukrainian generation. Jara spent in Sumy only 7 months but made a huge difference for the local youth. Here's what she says about her project.

Here I am, at Kyiv airport waiting for my flight to head back home and I realize that it has been 7 months ago that I was here at the same place arriving to Ukraine. On my first day in Ukraine I could not have imagined what an impact my time in Ukraine could have on me and how it positively affected my view on the world.

My project started in the beginning of February and until the summer holiday I was responsible for organizing Euro clubs, an after school activity, at 4 different schools in Sumy and Lebedin. During the Euro clubs I addressed topics like human rights, European union and its member states as well as introducing the Dutch culture and talking about the Netherlands. Many games were played, amusing questions were asked and interesting discussions were held. The Euro club creates the perfect possibility for school children to communicate in English with a foreigner and gain intercultural interest.

As soon as the summer holiday began, I started working on kids camps and took the possibility to set up my own personal project called SAY. SAY stands for ‘Sumy. Active. Youth’ and it organizes cultural and artistic activities on a weekly basis for the local youth. Due to this project I developed my planning and organizing skills and it enabled me to come in contact with all sorts of people with different backgrounds.

But I lost the fight against time. My 7 months experience in Ukraine has come to an end and I am heading home with countless good memories. I've made friends and I've made enemies - yes you marshrutka drivers in Sumy! I have learned about the cruel side of politics and have witnessed the rise of creative patriotism around me. Я говорю по русский чуть чуть and even some Polish: mów do ręki! I've enjoyed the cold winter as well as the many hot summer days on the beach. Have travelled over 6300 km within Ukraine, encountered cultural differences and visited beautiful places. It’s time to take my experiences and memories home. Cлава Україні!