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The Volunteer’s Blog

„SALTO“ on-arrival training


It’s already the second full day of our on-arrival training by SALTO. In total, we are 16 volunteers from seven different countries. Everyone has arrived for their EVS in Russia about 1 ½ months to 2 weeks ago. The training is organized like a seminar, with different sessions and exercises every day. The programme for today – exploring Rostov Kremlin (which was particularly interesting after watching the movie „Иван Васильевич меняет профессию“) and a session about „Russian culture“. The term „culture“ is of course always a bit controversial with concepts of multiculturalism, interculturalism and transculturalism opposing each other. In our session, the topic of „culture“ encompassed mainly habits, superstitions, patterns of behaviour and social norms. In general, there are no real superstitions still alive in Germany, so hearing about different subconscious beliefs in Russia was quite interesting.

One funny fact: for some reason it was an observation of most of us that in Russia, light switches are somehow very strange… When you enter an average room in Germany and other EU countries and reach out for the light switch, you can be sure to find it on the right side directly next to the door, approximately the height of your waist. But in Russia… it can be on the left side,  somewhere very far from the door or at kind of a strange height that is comfortable only for people under 1,30m.

Some other things that people have noticed is the omnipresence of чай and the fact that you are offered it everywhere, that people don’t generally say „thank you“ as much and that you are not offered a handshake as a woman when you are introduced to a man. Of course, there are lots of other small differences, but I won’t mention them all today – I think some are worth being discussed in a bit more detail.

In the afternoon, we had a workshop of traditional „bell painting“, роспись колокольчиков (I will add a photo of my masterpiece…).

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