Hola! I had always dreamed of visiting South America and finally my dream came true. This year I got the chance to take part in the Bilingual Risaralda program, carried out by Nukanti in cooperation with the local government of Risaralda.
Colombia is a fascinating country with incredibly beautiful nature, attractive culture and friendly people. I was based in Mistrato, a small town in Risaralda department. That tiny pueblo (town) is so charming and people - so welcoming that makes you feel insanely comfortable and enjoy your stay there. I was teaching English in Instituto Mistrato - the secondary school of that small town, from July to late November 2015.
The school was awesome indeed: friendly and hard-working staff and motivated students. I was running an English Club in order to improve the speaking skills and expand the vocabulary of students. They were learning about various topics such as climate change, climate action and diplomacy, politics, history, social networks, sports, etc. I also took part in many local and departmental events while in Mistrato, as well as organized some meetings, debates and conferences about education, climate change, sports, etc. As a Climate Reality Leader, I could not stay indifferent to a school-waste management initiative (September-November 2015) within the frameworks of the PRAE project - Proyecto Ambiental Escolar.
As a genocide scholar and former member of International Association of Genocide Scholars, I have always been interested in indigenous people and their history, culture and rights. That is why while in Mistrato (Mistrato has a huge number of indigenous population such as Embera Catio, Embera Chami, etc.) I tried to encourage as many indigenous people and students as possible to preserve their native languages and learn English in order “to deliver their message to the world.”
In October I visited Embera Chami indigenous community in San Antonio del Chami, and delivered a lecture on Climate Change and the role of Indigenous people in Climate Action at the local school.
I am leaving Mistrato with bright memories and great experience. I highly recommend young people from all over the world to apply for Nukanti’s volunteering project in Colombia and write lifelong experiences in their diaries.
Twitter: @VahramAyvazyan: https://twitter.com/vahramayvazyan