With anew websiteand ahappy news newsletter“Language & Culture Corner” is a school project born out of a big passion for travelling and discovering new cultures. Designed with passion, it is implemented with determination and agility by an Avenor scholarship student who invites us to virtually travel and discover the world in a unique way.

Tell us about yourself. What does it mean to be a scholarship student at Avenor?

I.R. My name is Iarina and I am currently in the 10th grade. I joined the Avenor community almost four years ago. Being a scholarship student comes with its fair share of responsibility regarding grades, projects and activities, but it also comes with an amazing feeling of accomplishment. There is a whole team of other students, teachers and staff on this journey with me whom I enjoy working in a team with. Through this scholarship, I was able to coordinate projects with other people who are as passionate as I am, as well as be an example for others.

What scholarship project do you have? What is its story and what activities does it involve?

I.R. This year, I have two scholarship projects called ‘Language and Culture Corner’, which is an ongoing project from previous years and “Say NO to Fast Fashion, a project I co-coordinate with one of my classmates.

Language and Culture Corner”was born out of a big passion I have for travelling and discovering new cultures. Finding out about our differences as human beings and learning how to embrace them is such a beautiful thing. It enriches our general knowledge and helps us understand others better.

In 2019, “Language and Culture Corner” started as a small panel on the wall, but it now involves many other things. As part of the project, I organise debates, National Day surveys, presentations and kahoot games. However, the main base of the project is a website everyone can access to play online games a nd look up information about European countries. I am currently working on updating it with information about countries from other continents too.

Your project – “Language and Culture Corner” – is very versatile and can go in many directions – geography, history, art, civilization and so on. Do you work on documenting it yourself, how do you handle it, how long does it take you?

I.R. Yes, I work on documenting it myself and I always make sure to use as many reliable sources as possible, in order to not publish misinformation. I usually check twice or thrice if a fact is correct. This can, of course, take me quite a lot of time, even up to hours. But I always try to think of it as something positive, because I enjoy discovering new countries. I often put some music on, get a cup of tea and start researching. I might find myself going from one interesting thing to another and then having to stop for the day, but I am glad it adds onto my general knowledge.

What were the biggest challenges you encountered over time in implementing the project?

I.R. One of my biggest challenges was the pandemic. My project was starting to flourish and many people were taking interest in my posters filled with information. I had many ideas to implement when being in school, but then I realised online school was not going to go away anytime soon. I was worried about how to catch the attention of younger classmates, so the only reasonable thing that seemed like I had to do was to try and adapt my project to an online version, a website, just like many other people. Because of this, I unfortunately lost some of the visibility, but as we slowly returned to school, I was able to promote it again.

Tell us the funniest 5 “Did you know that” about the European countries you found working on your project?

I.R. Throughout my project, I found some really interesting facts about the countries of Europe, but here are the most interesting and surprising ones for me:

  • In Germany there’s no punishment for a prisoner who tries to escape from jail, because they believe it is a basic human instinct to be free;
  • Kiev has the world’s deepest metro station at 1.5 kilometres underground;
  • Tourists in Rome, Italy throw €1,000,000 into the Trevi Fountain each year;
  • Slovakia has the only capital in the world bordering two countries;
  • It is estimated that British people drink 165 million cups of tea every day.

How do you see the future of the project? What do you want to do next?

I.R. Actually, a few weeks ago I launched a new feature based on the project. It is a happy news newsletter. Anyone can sign up using the QR code in the poster or the special google forms.. This is a bi-weekly newsletter coming straight into the mail inbox of anyone who signs up. The best part is it contains the best news from all over the world. They can be in regards to sustainable projects, cultures, countries and people. I believe that during this time of uncertainty everyone needs some happy news one in a while. I sincerely hope to have as many subscribers as possible! 

One of my biggest hopes for this year is that the school will be able to organise its famous Cultural Celebration Day. Due to the pandemic, it did not take place physically in the last years, but through my project, I would love to contribute to its organisation and stands.