Hello, Wissem, you are in Ústí nad Labem via project Volunteering activities (under Erasmus+ programme). What was your motivation to take part in sucha a project?
The idea of traveling and going abroad has always been a dream and a mere idea for me, I just didn‘t know when or where I will go. But, since I have learned about EVS in 2016 and that you can have this experience of going abroad as a volunteer I realized that this dream can come true under the frame work of Erasmus+ program. And, what motivated me in the first place was this exploration of new culture and people, to learn about other traditions and new ways of life, and at the same time to learn more about myself and my culture. Moreover, after I graduated university in 2015 I was not sure what I will do. And, this is the second reason which motivated me to choose this project at the library, where I can work with librarians and learn about their work, where I can gain experience in teaching, lesson preparation, to understand more about non-formal education, workshops and games as well as to turn knowledge and ideas into concrete material and practice.
What was the hardest part for you – if there was any?
I believe that the hardest part for me was these few past days, I was feeling up and down since I came. My mind was in a set of alert, every thing is new and seems strange. I felt pressured, intimidated, unprepared, and I was culturally shocked that I had the feeling that I forgot why I was here in the first place. These few past days were “too real to be true“. But, I think after I went to the on arrival training, I am less in alert, less intimidated, and that I am no longer swimming against the tide, in other words, I am starting to enjoy the journey.
What will you do in the library and how long will you stay?
I am going to stay here for seven months until the first of July and my main tasks in the library would be to help in the different departments of the library, to learn about the work of librarians, to create and play games with children in the children‘ s department, to lend books to the clients of the library and to return books.
Moreover, I am going to have some presentations about Tunisia for the public and the people of Usti, where they can explore the Tunisian culture and traditions, the Tunisian history and way of life, and what makes Tunisia the country that it is today. Moreover, I am going to animate the English club through more games to play and themes to discuss. And also, I am going to have a french club with librarians. Finally, The other thing that I will do here is to have an Arabic club.
You mentioned English Club (nonformal meeting of people who like to speak in English). I know that you prepare also Arabic Club to let people know more about Tunisian culture. Can you tell me more about it (how often it will be, which day, and about the topics and format of the club)?
I believe it will be more about Arabic language (Tunisian dialect) at first, and more about Tunisian history. I am not really sure what else we can have right now, but, I will rely on my interactions and encounters with the people here to find out more about what things they would like to explore and I believe that the Arabic club would be more of a non formal place for exchange and bridging up between our cultures. (Calligraphy in Arabic) and (Tunisian pottery) (Tunisian Films, music and dance)
You have been in the Czech Republic since 27th November. Is there anything you like about the Czech Republic?
Well, although, I was struggling a bit in my head with all the waves of new things I was seeing. But, I really found that this country is beautiful with its mountains and rivers, I did not really expect that. I also found out that Czech republic has a huge history and a ravishing architecture. And, the soup! too many soups!
And something that surprised you (either in good way or bad way)?
What surprised me in a good way was the sophistication of the country, everything seems organized and on time, especially the means of transportation we don‘t have this punctuality in Tunisia. What surprised me also is the weather, it was really shocking, I am still adjusting to it.
Thank you for your answer and wish you nice days in the Czech Republic and a lot of nice experience in your project.