Johanna no Austrijas no Ikšķiles Brīvās Skolas
My first month in Ikšķiles Brīvā Skolā in Latvia is over. After this very intensive and new time I start asking myself „What are my experiences and first impressions of the school so far?”
First of all, I want to talk a little bit about myself. I am seventeen years old and graduated from high school in June. The plan to spend a year abroad has already been my desire since I was a teenager.
For me it was also important to do not spend a year off just for travelling around, but for doing some voluntary work. In addition I think you can really get to know a different country or culture when you work and live there for a while.
When I heard from the European Voluntary Service I knew „this is what I want to do”.
After a while, I found the project of Ikšķiles Brīvās Skolā in Latvia. It really awoke my interest because on the one hand I was fascinated by their alternative way of teaching. On the other hand I was interested to be a teacher´s assistant and to work with kids. I have to admit when I applied for this project, I knew nothing about Latvia.
Shortly before my departure I had mixed feelings. Of course I was very very glad and happy to work in this project. I was prepared and everything was well organised. But somehow it felt strange to leave your familiar environment for a year and start a new phase of life in a country you barely know, in Latvia.
On my arrival all these feelings were forgotten. I was busy with getting to know new people from school, I was invited to a concert, met my mentor and did many other things.
There were so many languages, impressions and things in my head and around me that there was actually no time and space for more.
In this intensive time the school started as well. The first day of school was celebrated with dancing, singing, a special fire ritual and a tasty buffet. I was amazed because I have never seen people of all age dancing and singing together, all of them wore beautiful colored clothes. It was such a nice impression and I could really feel the happiness of everybody.
My „normal” school day followed which was quite challenging. For me and for the children it was the beginning. There were so many new faces and names, I did not understand anything at all, a few little children cried. Somehow I felt unsure how to behave. Now I just think „all beginnings are difficult”.
Furthermore we had a sport day where I explained the different tasks and games to the children. This was funny because the games were very special and the children enjoyed to play them. On the last day of the first week the whole school went on excursion. We visited a spiritual hill, a partner school and an adventure park. It was a long and great day.
Now I try to summarise my first impression of the school. As the school offers so much freedom, the children seem very energetic, self-confident and independet to me. I am really stunned how well some children already speak English. When I was their age, I think I could not speak English at all.
Maybe this school seems a little bit chaotic to me, BUT in a positive way. Especially for children it is important to have this freedom instead of being pressed in a schedule. Me personally I have to get used to this unrestrictive schedule, but it is a great experience. I hear noises all the time, even during classes. Of course I am aware that children are not the most quiet people.
I am very glad to work in this school. I imagine I will spend a wonderful year here and
I am looking foward to make projects for school.
Of course there will be awkward situations but I think that’s life.