Tag archives for Ukraine

Språkcafé in Ukraine

Ukraine now has an establihed Swedish Langugae Club. Co-founder Anastasiya Borenkova has shared her experience with us, telling us the story of how everything started.

“The idea came to our mind 2 years ago. Me and the other two founders, Alina and Anna, did not know each other by that time but we shared a big passion for Sweden. After a year of amazing volunteer experience in Sweden, Alina came back to Ukraine and extremely missed “Swedishness” and Swedish language. She started looking for people who would like to meet and speak Swedish in Kyiv. Through Couchsurfing she found Anna who never learnt Swedish but frequently visited her friends in Sweden, travelled around Sweden and simply fell in love with the country. They started weekly Swedish speaking meetings, being one of the few enthusiasts looking for ways how to involve more Swedish speakers to the group. Thanks to a recommendation of their friends, they got in touch with the SI alumni community. I was one of the SI alumni who liked their idea and joined the club. I began learning Swedish during my studies in Östersund and finished A2 level. After I returned to Ukraine, I wanted to keep practicing Swedish with native speakers and those who also study Swedish in Kyiv. Together we named our speaking club “Språkcafé i Kyiv” and in short this is how our project began.

In the very beginning, there were onlike about 2 or 3 of us at the meetings – choosing discussion topics, playing table games and of course, speaking Swedish. The challenge was to find native speakers but we managed by going through our personal networks, friends of friends, Facebook announcements on SI alumni group, Couchsurfing etc. We used all available communication channels to attract more people to join us. We held our first Språkcafe meetings with Swedes from Ericsson, Beetroot and Tobii (Swedish companies in Ukraine) who supported our initiative. We were really building a little community.

Now there are more than 250 people in our Facebook group  and more and more of them join us every week. It means that there is a growing interest in Sweden and Swedish in Ukraine. We even meet people who learn other Scandinavian languages but they come to us because there is no similar Norwegian or Danish club in Kyiv. There is “Språkcafé i Lviv” which was established by our example a year ago and we plan to organize such clubs in other Ukrainian cities as well. It is great to know that people heard about us in Sweden or even on a plane on the way to Kyiv. Therefore, we expand our borders.

Traditional group selfie at the weekly meeting

We organize general weekly meetings once in one or two weeks in different cozy places in Kyiv. Sometimes we have special thematic meetings e.g. köttbullar evening when we cook Swedish meals or watch Swedish movies together. We always try to organize small celebrations of Swedish holidays as well. One of the most memorable holidays, which we celebrated this year, was Midsummer.

Midsummer celebration 2016

We had almost 80 guests including Swedes who live in Kyiv or arrived specially for the holiday. We spent three days in nature outside of the city. We had so much fun! We followed all holiday traditions – danced around a maypole, wove wreaths, sang Midsummer songs, cooked traditional dishes, played Swedish games, swam in the Kyiv sea. In addition, this autumn we organized Swedish picnic in collaboration with the Scandinavian house “Stockholm Studios” in Irpen. We cooked köttbullar and Swedish desserts for the guests and gave presentations on the Swedish Embassy in Ukraine, Swedish business in Kyiv, and travelling in Sweden. I think the most impressive was the final part of the event when we opened a can of surströmming.

Swedish picnic at Stockholm Studios. October 2016

Beetroot founders who were our first Swedish guests at Språkcafe meetings played a crucial role in development of the project. This year Beetroot kindly created a logo for our club, and, most importantly, a website. Everything was free of charge as Beetroot charity initiative. Thanks to Swedish Institute financial contribution, we bought a domain and paid for hosting for the website. We feel a lot of support and very thankful for that. We hope our Språkcafe group will be growing, strengthening bonds and inspiring SI alumni from other countries to create their Swedish language clubs.

Do you have a story that you want to share with your fellow SI Alumni? Get in contact with the SI Alumni team!

Interview with Swedish Institute alumnus: Dmytro Iarovyi

The Embassy of Sweden in Ukraine has interviewed three Swedish Institute alumni. This article is the last in a series of profiles published by the Embassy of Sweden during October.

Dmytro Iarovyi, originally from the Luhansk region, is the current Head of international communications at the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine.  A few years ago, Dmytro was looking for opportunities to study abroad and, according to him, Sweden offered the best combination of affordability and quality. After receiving a grant from the Swedish Institute, Dmytro spent two years studying International Administration and Global Governance at Gothenburg University.

“It was the brightest experience of my life”, says Dmytro. “The teachers were great. Moreover, thanks to the practical component of my course, I was able to do a two month internship in New York for the delegation of Ukraine to the UN”.

Dmytro’s study abroad experience involved a good portion of sight-seeing and leisure. He was pleased with Gothenburg’s mix of big city clubs and small town cycling lanes, and considers it his “favorite city in the world”. Being part of an SI-programme also allowed him to form lasting connections with international students. Thanks to an SI-organized kickoff at the start of the academic year, Dmytro met other SI-students and made a great group of friends. Together they rented a car and travelled all around Europe.

Upon returning to Ukraine, Dmytro was so inspired by his time abroad that he decided to continue promoting his experiences and values from Sweden.  As an active member of SI’s alumni network, Dmytro has co-hosted a workshop on leadership with the help of SI’s funding. He has also independently hosted a workshop on public broadcasting for Ukrainian students and SI alumni.

Dmytro wholeheartedly recommends the SI’s programmes to other Ukrainians looking for a European experience and has tirelessly promoted study abroad opportunities. “For those who want to learn about good practice in governance and administration, with a uniquely Swedish perspective on gender and development, studying in Sweden is an invaluable opportunity. I would highly recommend applying for these scholarships – if I could, I would do it again and again.”

The interview was published at the Embassy of Sweden in Ukraine website. You can read the original article here.

Interview with Swedish Institute alumna: Mariia Tyshchenko

The Embassy of Sweden in Ukraine has interviewed three Swedish Institute alumni. This article is the second in series of profiles published by the Embassy of Sweden during October.

Mariia Tyshchenko is the founder and director of the NGO Poruch (“Nearby” or “Alongside”), as well as an associate professor in the political economy department at Kyiv National Economy University. A tireless activist and educator, Mariia’s main interests center on sustainable development and social cohesion.

“I was already interested in sustainable development. When looking for programmes where I could explore this in more depth, I stumbled upon the Swedish Institute’s summer school”, says Mariia. The 2010 summer school on strategic sustainable development involved spending one week in Mundekulla, followed by one week in Karlskrona. The whole experience was funded by SI.

“Mundekulla was in the middle of nowhere in northern Sweden. We lived on an estate that was completely sustainable”, remembers Mariia. “They grew their own food and recycled pretty much everything. They even had sustainable toilets! Having to differentiate between ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ plastic was a bit of a shock for us Eastern Europeans.”

Moreover, the community sported a small grocery store without a shopkeeper. The store’s profitability relied on visitors putting the right amount of money down for the items they bought. This made a deep impression on Mariia. “For me, it was proof of the high levels of social capital in Sweden. Coincidentally, social trust correlates with low levels of corruption”, says Mariia.

Of course, in addition to their learning experience, there was plenty of time for the students to enjoy themselves. “I was lucky enough to have my summer course coincide with the Swedish Midsummer celebrations. It was a party like I’ve never experienced. We were even wearing our vyshyvanky (Ukrainian national dress)!”

Mariia was heavily inspired by the summer school’s overall philosophy of social responsibility, as well as the strong presence of women activists in Sweden. Mariia returned to Ukraine with a feeling that she could change the world. As a result, Poruch was born, an NGO with the aim of building communities and fostering sustainable development in the regional areas of Ukraine. Their current projects involve social cohesion training in Donbas and integrating internally displaced people (IDPs) into their host communities. This was directly inspired by the social cohesion she observed in Sweden.

Mariia has continued to maintain her relationship with the Swedish Institute and its alumni. During its 5 years of existence, Poruch has organized dozens of events, many supported by SI and the Embassy. The vast network of activists and experts Mariia formed at SI’s summer school has also been a valuable resource: to this day, the SI summer school alumni work together on various projects all over Ukraine.

In 2015, Mariia went to Sweden once again, this time to SI’s Summer Academy for Young Professionals, with the aim of increasing the practice of good governance in the wider Baltic Sea Region.

Overall, Mariia is happy with her choices. “Attending SI’s summer schools broadened my horizons while enhanging my career profile” she says. “Ukraine still has many unsolved domestic problems and challenges. By studying the Swedish experience we can add to our own knowledge”.

The interview was published at the Embassy of Sweden in Ukraine website. You can read the original article here.

Human rights in education, Ukraine 8 October

The below comes from Kateryna Shapochka who was granted alumni funding to organise an event on the theme of human rights in education:

The 8th October, Human Rights in Education seminar took place at the Mykolaiv V.O.Sukhomlynsky National University (Mykolaiv, Ukraine). It offered participants the opportunity to improve their knowledge about Human Rights Education, to problemize and question the implications of the HRE in a multicultural world, to deepen the knowledge about HRE on an international and national level.

We realize that a democratic society needs active citizens and the seminar showed that SI Alumni and other participants are ready to discuss the Fundamental Human Rights Declaration, want to learn more about HR Declaration and are the team to study possibilities for HR Education to became a mainstream in Ukraine’s educational system. Read more » >>

Passive house – Active consumer, Kiev 5 September

Please find below a report and pictures from “Passive house – Active consumer. Energy efficiency in residential sector” – an alumni event organised by Georgii Valdenmaiier and Julia Shevchenko in the Ukraine:

The event was held in Kyiv on 5 September and organized by SI alumni Georgii Valdenmaiier and Julia Shevchenko.

The seminar included 7 short lectures on different topics regarding energy efficiency – from energy efficient architecture to energy cooperatives.

The event started with short presentation of the SI Alumni Network and the idea of the seminar held by Georgii Valdenmaiier.

The very first lectures was provided by young successful Belarusian architect Aleksandr Kucharavy. Aleksandr presented the concepts of passive, active and multifunctional houses. In the second part speaker shared with audience personal experience of building multifunctional houses in Belarus and Ukraine. Read more » >>