Fall is in full swing here in Budapest, and so is the work of our international volunteers! We have been thrilled to welcome students from the Budapest Semester in Mathematics Education (BSME) program to Kalunba as they volunteer during their semester in the city. Regardless of how long they stay, volunteers are an integral part of the picture here at Kalunba – they are the ones who often provide fun community activities, English lessons for those interested in learning, and occasional childcare while parents are in language lessons.
Ashley Wilson, a junior at the College of Saint Benedict in St. Cloud, Minnesota, USA here for the BSME semester, says that she got involved with Kalunba because, “I wanted to give back to Budapest during my time here, and I thought volunteering at Kalunba would be a good way to do so.”
Prior to arriving in Budapest, Wilson had read about the “refugee crisis” in Europe, and specifically in Hungary, and she felt called to help out in a way that could also give her practical experience in her career field – math and secondary education. “I am looking to gain experience with teaching English here. This experience will help me gain a new perspective for my future students that are English as second language learners. I don’t know how else I will be changed by this experience, but I know that those that I interact with will change me in some way.”
Nick Evans is another BSME student coming from Oregon State University, where he is a senior studying Math Education. Evans came to volunteer at Kalunba because, “I am always looking to make the lives of others better, and helping Kalunba is something that I saw was needed because Kalunba is doing great things by helping those in need.”
“I am looking to see life through another person’s perspective and make sure that I can positively impact the lives of people here,” Evans says when asked about what he hopes to gain from his experience with Kalunba.
Evans is currently tutoring in English, coordinating a weekly soccer program, and also helps babysit one night a week for parents with young children who are enrolled in language lessons.
Kalunba volunteers truly come from all over the world and stay for varying lengths of time, but they all serve a vital purpose in our community. Without our multicultural volunteers, our community would not be as rich or as welcoming – these young people who come into our lives light up our center with their energy and love. We are so thankful for all those who have chosen to serve with Kalunba, both past and present, because they really are at the heart of what we do here.