Published: 18.06.2020
Kids generally called me by my name, but some of the girls called me “Giulika”, which I find very sweet and very Russian!

Have you ever had a chance to work as a volunteer with kids? What about Russian kids? This summer Enjoy Russian School in Petrozavodsk has been super lucky to have such an amazing volunteer as Giulia. A wonderful Italian girl, best dancer ever, and the greatest energizer was helping English tutors at the International language Camp all summer long. It is hard to imagine how many questions she was asked. We decided to add a few more! Thank you, Giulia, for sharing your experience!

My day in Russia as a volunteer

With the groups aged 5-11, I would start at 9 with a flashmob on the Italian song “Occidentali’s karma” (my first choreography ever), then we studied English through games and exercises. Every morning I made a presentation about a different country, and all the activities of the day were connected to that particular country. For example, for China we had a masterclass on Chinese calligraphy, for Brazil we went to a capoeira class, and so on. We had been blessed with wonderful weather all summer long, so after lunch, we would stay in the park and play. With the groups aged 12-17 the routine was almost the same, except we started at 10 and in the afternoon met with interesting guests, such as athletes, business people, adventurers, and had skype calls with foreign friends. The camp finished at 5 pm, and in the evening I would prepare presentations or games for the next day.

Children in Europe VS. children in Russia

Having worked with a lot of children in Italy and abroad, I have always thought that children are the same all over the world, and this experience has confirmed my beliefs. They are all funny, curious, and full of life! However, I have never been asked to talk about politics by Italian children, whereas in Russia I had some interesting discussions about this topic with ten-year-olds over lunch! And I also noticed their professionality in photo shoots: most of them acted like experienced models, while Italian children and especially teenagers would feel much more uncomfortable… I for sure did

Lessons I learned from volunteering in Petrozavodsk

While being a volunteer I learned to interact with different age groups and to adapt my activities and lessons to their skills and needs. It has been very challenging and interesting to prepare something useful from start to finish and to try to involve everyone in it. I also discovered some skills I didn’t know I have, like making people sing and dance, which I always thought I would be awful at. And, of course, I learned a lot of new words and new things about Russia, rap music, business ideas, travels, traditions and much more!

Any funny stories?

I had fun every day watching the kids doing their weird things, like bringing in the class boxes with interesting insects inside, singing awful rap songs they didn’t know the meaning of, playing the guitar in the street to make money… and of course the love stories, which sometimes lasted just one day. For example, a ten-year-old boy asked me who he should ask out, and I told him “well, choose a girl you like”. He answered: “But I like them all”.

Arsenij was my favorite kid!

My favorite kid was Arsenij, from our last camp in August, because he was very smart and active (hyperactive, I would say), participated in all the activities, and came up with twenty ideas per second. True, sometimes we got exhausted from his non-stop talking, but he would always make up a funny story or a song and make us laugh.

What did I like about Petrozavodsk?

I really liked Petrozavodsk in the summer, especially the lake, the parks! I went to Kizhi, Kivach waterfall, Kondopoga, which are really unique places. And the camp made me discover places in the city that I wouldn’t have visited by myself, like theatres, the anti chafe, the photography studio.

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