FLEX alumni in Estonia organized the very first meeting of alumni, after returning home from the U.S. on October 7-8. Alumni met in the South of Estonia at the Kiidjärve Hiking Center to hike and collect trash along the trails. Alumni left not only with four bags full of trash, but also newly-strengthened relationships formed through assisting each other in navigating the slippery trails. Alumni Coordinator Gerda Metsma ’17 (Tallinn, Estonia/Selma, CA) reflects: “I believe this was a great way to start events with our new alumni community and I hope we continue to make Estonia a better place!”
International Education week 2017
The first cohort of Estonian alumni set the bar high by hosting multiple International Education Week events! Alumni Katriina Gorjunov ´17 (Tartu, Estonia/Kailua, HI) and Elis Ounapuu ´17 (Tartu, Estonia/Maryville, MO) organized an American Movie Night at the Hugo Treffneri Gymnasium for which they showed a movie depicting Estonian teenagers selling books in the United States. The audience enjoyed the film and the way it showcased a positive relationship between Estonians and Americans!
On November 15, Katre Vahter ’17 (Talinn, Estonia/Weiser, ID) conducted a quiz for her classmates at the Rocca al Mare School in Tallinn in which she asked general questions about the U.S. Her classmates thanked her afterwards for making their morning more exciting, as they took with them newly-gained knowledge about the United States.
On the same day in Tartu, EducationUSA-Tartu hosted the USA College Fair. Alumni Coordinator Gerda Metsma ’17 represented the FLEX program and talked about her experience in an American high school. Katriina Gorjunov ´17 and Marke Mark ´17 (Tartu, Estonia/Cass City, MO) also helped during the event by registering the guests and representing FLEX at its designated booth.
On November 16, the alumni community posted a video of FLEX Alumni from seven other countries pronouncing Estonian words. This was filmed during the Eastern Europe FLEX Ability Workshop 2017 and the results were fantastic!
International Day of Persons with Disabilities
On December 3, Alumni celebrated International Day of Persons with Disabilities by visiting the Maarja küla Center. Maarja küla is a center for young people with intellectual disabilities in the south of the country. Alumni sang Christmas carols, baked gingerbread cookies, and made Christmas decorations with the young people at the center and enjoyed every minute of it. Elis Ounapuu ´17 remembers the event: “It went super well! The visit left me with a warm feeling inside my heart!” American Councils Country Representative Greete Lepik, who also attended the event, said: “It was an amazing experience for the alumni to see how much patience you need to work with a person with disabilities. Once you are working with one person and give all your attention to him, then you could tell how happy he is for the time you are giving to him.”
Alumni Coordinator Gerda Metsma organized this event and is so thankful that the alumni could learn such valuable lessons from this experience.
Written by Gerda Metsma ‘17