Testimony

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  •  Nick Albanese: English Instructor, Summer 2011, Georgetown University

Nick Albanese

Deciding to volunteer at the International Youth Center was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Even though I had only studied Russian for one year and had never taught English, I felt right at home in my new environment. One of the best parts of the program was teaching such determined and intelligent students! Lessons were always fun – whether we were playing a spelling game or acting out skits. Over the short month, we all became friends and taught each other so much about our different cultures. Another part of the program that I enjoyed was the weekend excursions. I visited Rostov, Kostroma, Yaroslavl, and Moscow.  Additionally, living with the Yakovlev family was wonderful – they always made sure I was comfortable and truly made me feel like part of the family. Moreover, the camp property was great and we were never without something to do. Making new friends, experiencing Russian culture, teaching eager students, improving your Russian, exploring Nerekhta, and seeing a different side of Russia – that’s what this program is all about. In short, I would volunteer again at the IYC in a heartbeat.

  • Rachel Hoffman: PR/Marketing Intern, Summer 2012, Georgetown University

Rachel Hoffman

During the summer of 2012, I worked as the PR/Marketing Intern at the International Youth Center in Nerekhta, Russia. IYC met all of my requirements for an ideal summer internship. The work was challenging, allowed me to work with variety of people, and gave me the space and freedom to plan and implement my own projects. I not only improved my Russian, but I also learned a great deal about business development, marketing, and the intricacies involved in running a non-profit organization, skills that are incredibly useful in today’s professional world. While I worked long days and was expected to juggle multiple tasks, the hard work was rewarding because the staff at IYC clearly appreciated my efforts. Everyone I worked with, including my boss, made me feel welcome and comfortable. Additionally, excursions to nearby Russian cities like Kostroma, Yaroslavl, and Suzdal were regularly arranged, which gave me a greater insight into Russia’s fascinating culture and history. IYC is a truly amazing place to spend a summer, and I would recommend this internship to any high achieving college student who is interested in Russia, willing to work hard, and wants a meaningful international internship opportunity.

  • Liz Mitchell: English Instructor, Summer 2012, Georgetown University

Liz Mitchell

I was unsure what to expect before I arrived to work at IYC. I knew I would be teaching English, but I couldn’t have imagined that I would be having so much fun, or that after a mere two weeks I would be waving goodbye to the kids with tears running down my cheeks. Everyday is busy, but the kids make everything worth it. Teaching, frankly, hardly describes life here at all. We’re always singing and dancing, playing games, or coming up with crazy skits. Even hanging out around the dinner table is an event when your company has this much personality. I can’t stand the thought of leaving everyone behind, but choosing to spend my summer with a bunch of smart, sassy, rascally kids is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

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  • Kasia Kucharski: English Instructor, Summer 2012, George Washington University

Kasia Kucharski

Working at IYC surpassed every expectation I had prior to the experience – in the best of ways. As someone who had never worked with kids before and had only studied Russian for one year, I never would have thought I could fit in so easily at the camp. The eagerness of the children to learn English and form relationships with us, their teachers and counselors, is definitely what helped the most. I always felt comfortable and welcomed by everyone around me – by the kids as well as the rest of the volunteers and counselors. It seemed like everyone was united by their desire to communicate, whether it was us trying to practice our Russian or the native Russian speakers expanding their English. The physical aspects of the camp were also a pleasant surprise for me. I would never have expected to be able to use a Russian banya while working at a summer camp! The modern feel of all the facilities is very comfortable and the atmosphere amongst the people here makes working at IYC all the better. Even though working here was my first-ever visit to Russia, when the kids asked me if I would be working again next summer, I couldn’t help but want to answer “yes” and promise myself an immediate return to IYC.

  • Katya Beebe: Camp Counselor/Art Instructor, Summer 2012, Seton Hall University

Katya Beebe

Everyone loves summer for whatever reason, whether it is for the warm weather or the time for a long break from school. While I was growing up, like most other kids, I loved going to camps in the summer where I would meet old and new friends and have a great time just doing a lot of fun activities. Because of my positive experience with summer camps, I was attracted to the idea of volunteering in a camp for Russian kids where I would also have the opportunity to teach English and practice the Russian language. After just a couple of weeks, I can say that I really love it here at the International Youth Center. Even more than just participating in the camp, I like being part of a team (consisting of Americans and Russians) who are responsible for the kids’ experiences throughout the camp. I help with the English lessons, the arts and crafts, and even with sports. Volunteering at this camp means spending a few weeks in the beautiful Russian countryside, surrounded by kids who are excited to meet you, talk to you, correct your Russian, and even keep in contact with you after you leave because it means so much to them to have foreign volunteers willing to spend an unforgettable summer at their camp.

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