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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

    Damian Etherington
    Edinburgh, UK

    Hi, I spent the summer of 2002 in a summer camp near Izhevsk and it is something that I would highly recommend, I had an amazing time. I was the first volunteer to take part in the camp placement programme and it was a step into the unknown for Svezhy Veter and me.

    The work in the camp was very relaxed; a typical day included 1-2 hours of lessons (in the loosest possible sense of the word) with the kids, with the reminder of the day being spent playing sports and games with them. The kids were fantastic as were all the adults at the camp, they were amazingly friendly, open and eager to learn about my life and me.

    The people in the camp had a great zest for life. There was always something different and exciting to do in the camp, the counsellor always managed to have some competition, party or theme for each day. Which can be really confusing when you wake up and everyone is wearing their clothes inside out, and breakfast has become dinner. Very strange!

    If your wanting to take part in the camp programme a few survival tips I would give you are, take a deck of cards and learn (quickly) how to play durak (fool). Take LOTS of photos with you, Russian's love to see and know about your life, country and family. Always bring bits and bobs from your own country like money and driving licenses. Finally, be prepared to listen (and dance) to Russian pop!

    I thoroughly enjoyed my experience in Russia; it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. During the three months I spent in Russia I met many exciting and different people and made many good friends. Well I'm sure that you'll have lots of questions, fears and worries that I've not mentioned here, so feel free to email me and ask!

    Volunteered: June 4 - August 30, 2002

    Johan De Maertelaere

    Volunteered: April 15 - July 15, 2003

    Curtis Guillot

    My desire to travel and see the world began when I was a boy. I loved to read and look at photographs of the National Geographic collection my grandfather had. My grandfather was Russian, though he did not speak much about his life there. But perhaps because of this, a door was waiting to be opened.After reading about Russia and watching as many Russian movies I could find, I decided to visit Russia.

    I guess while surfing the Internet I found that there is a need for English teachers. I found the Svezhy Veter agency and applied. So, what about my visit to Izhevsk? Well since we are invited to go there to be volunteer English teachers, I will speak about this aspect before any cultural issues.

    I would recommend you bring a dictionary, because spelling a word incorrectly can be embarrassing. At least, this is what some other volunteers told me. I also brought a grammar book. As a native speaker, I do not think why I speak the way I do. But grammar books have defined rules that make it easy to explain, or give a reason why to say such and such.

    Most large bookstores carry English grammar books for non native speakers. I spent most of my time at School 27 in Izhevsk. I just assisted the teachers there with whatever they wanted me to do, mainly just listening to the students and providing correction. In the evenings after school there was another class. These students were mostly from the university and other schools. We would discuss different topics, nothing too difficult.

    I went to Izhevsk in the summer before the start of school. So before I was at School 27, I went to a small town. I was told I was the first foreigner to visit there. I was impressed by the level of English the students had. Some of them spoke so well and had never even spoken with a native English speaker before. The town newspaper came and interviewed me.

    In Izhevsk some of the students were so curious about me, where I was from, and other details. I imagine they have met many volunteers but this did not negate their efforts to make me feel welcomed. Why go to Russia? Why travel? I guess it is different for everyone. For me, my senses come alive. I enjoy trying to learn their language, meeting people, listening to their opinons, and many other countless things.

    If you want to go I suggest you be people oriented, because this is the real treasure. If you do not have an interest in Russians or the language, I suggest you not go. The same can be said of any country one wants to visit. But if you do have an interest and just want to meet the local citizenry, this is a wonderful opportunity. Pretty much all of the other volunteers I met enjoyed it as well. If you visit, you will probably want to visit again.

    I want to thank the Svezhy Veter Agency for accepting me, my visit allowed me to meet so many people.

    Volunteered: July 18 - September 22, 2003
    Return visit: March - April, 2006

    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

    Jacqueline Goldsmith

    Volunteered: May - June, 2006

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