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    SVEZHY VETER Travel Agency
    426008 Izhevsk Karla Marxa 288a
    mail: 426033 Izhevsk 2040 Russia
    tel: +7 (3412) 450037, 613080
    +7 909 064 69 95

      Contact us

    Volunteers Section

    Volunteers History (2000-2011)      Currently Volunteering      School Photo Gallery

    Brad Yakemchuk

    My name is Brad Yakemchuk. I'm a Canadian who decided to visit Russia with the goal of learning Russian. Before jumping on an airplane, however, I did a lot of research and found several options for my visit. Knowing very little Russian, and knowing little about Russia in general (apart from the prejudice everyone has heard from friends and the media), I was very cautious when making my final decision. In the end I found Svezhy Veter to be the most attentive to all my questions and concerns. After the first of many emails, I was confident I was talking to "real" individuals who had the patience and sincere desire to help ease all my anxieties prior to my trip.

    Several months into my visit to Russia, I still have no regrets about my decision to come to Izhevsk. The program has lived up to all my expectations and I feel I have been fortunate enough to see a Russia that many visitors to Russia may never experience.

    Like most visitors to Russia, my first experiences included the architecture and galleries of Moscow and St Petersburg. Without trying to belittle these impressive sights, however, I can honestly say that these are not Russia's true treasures. Russia's true treasures lie within the hearts and the homes of Russian people themselves.

    While in Izhevsk I've experienced Russian generosity over the holidays in the homes of Russian friends. I've celebrated birthday parties where food, drink and song are plentiful. I've felt the extremes of running from icy waters to the warmth of a Russian banya in January. I've even been privileged enough to join a hockey team and play under the lights on many crisp winter nights. It has been these experiences, the experiences you cannot find in a travel brochure, which I have treasured the most.

    If you want to come to Izhevsk, but are still scared of the "unknown", I can assure you that there is little to be worried about. Apart from slips and falls on the icy winter sidewalks, there is no more risk in Izhevsk than you would experience in any town of equal size in the U.S. or Canada.

    The people are not waiting to victimize the next foreigner. Most have little experience with foreigners and show a mixture of curiosity and sincere generosity. I do not consider myself an "adventure" tourist and have little travel experience apart from lying on a beach in the U.S. or Mexico, and if I can make this trip, I see little problem for anyone with an open-mind and the desire to discover the "real" Russia.

    Volunteered: November, 2001 - April, 2002
    Return visit: 2003

    Stevan Dokic
    United Kingdom

    Volunteered: 2002

    Anne Gry Renningen

    Volunteered: September 4 - November 25, 2003

    Malla Tennila

    Since I was in high school I have always wanted to visit Russia. While backpacking through Europe I was going to join a tour of Moscow and St Petersburg. Instead I found something that would be more of a cultural experience. I applied to the SV Agency and became a volunteer in 2004.

    My time in Izhevsk was amazing. The classes I attended were filled with very enthusiastic students, not only ready to learn English but also about my culture. The teenagers in these classes are different from any other teenagers I have met. They enjoyed telling me about their Russian life, culture, their dreams and aspirations. In return they loved hearing about Australia, my travel and seeing photos of my family.

    The highlight of the trip was a weekend bike trip. The students and international volunteers rode about 110km (round trip) out to a small village to deliver supplies. We got to stay there overnight. During the weekend trip we not only saw the wonderful Russian countryside we also tried Russian cuisine, learnt more about Russian way of life and had a banya.

    The depth of Russian cultural within this remote village area was amazing. Some of the villagers said it was the first time they ever met a foreigner. One of our student hosts (Valentine) took us to the 'local village disco'. This was an enchanting experience I will never forget, about 12 of us hoped into a van and drove outside the village.

    We suddenly stopped on the side of the road. Valentine turned the radio up and we all danced on the road side. The students have an amazing love of life, that is different from the western world.

    I still keep in contact with my host family and some of the other volunteers. If the chance arose gain I would love to participate in the program again. I suggest anyone given the opportunity to participate do so.

    (Some of the male students are avid coin collectors. They loved seeing and receiving some of the foreign coins in my possession.)

    Volunteered: June 20 - July, 2004

    Andrew Watson

    Volunteered: December 2005 - February 2006

    Ashleigh Claire

    Volunteered: January, 2008

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