Last weekend, project participants from North Macedonia, Ukraine and Guatemala went on their first ever culture trips to the capitals of their respective countries.

Although the trips in each country had slightly different itineraries, all of them fulfilled their purpose: to celebrate the successful completion of two of three modules of the program and reinforce the knowledge the students gained throughout their English and Art Academy classes.

In North Macedonia, the fellows visited the capital of the country, Skopje, where they had a private tour around the museums of Illusions and Contemporary Art and explored how the opera house functions on the other side of the curtain. They even had a chance to sing on the country’s main stage! Kristina Krtseva, North Macedonian coordinator of the @creative.fellowship program, was amazed at the new friendships amongst the fellows:

 “It was indeed a unique experience! For some of the fellows, it was a first introduction to many things like museums, theaters, even cafes. It could have been a bit stressful, but surprisingly it wasn’t. It was interesting to see how children that have previously only met virtually, immediately bonded with each other as if they had known each other for a long time. Seeing them clicking right away, you realize how the program indeed creates a special community united by common interests with a genuine sense of friendship.”

 In Ukraine, Odessa was chosen as the cultural destination for the creative fellows. The choice was based primarily on the city’s cultural and architectural heritage, and backstage access to the local opera house. First, the fellows had an introductory guided tour to the city that is often referred to as “The Pearl of the Black Sea”. Later, they had the opportunity to visit the hidden corners of the local opera stage. In her overview on the trip, Maria Yarotska, regional coordinator for Ukraine, said:

“This trip was a lot of fun, especially after a year of online learning. It was important for the fellows to get out of their bubbles and experience something new. For me, getting to know the next generation of culturally curious people and seeing the world through their eyes was very refreshing. After this trip, I am sure it will be a very brave new world indeed.”

Guatemala was awarded the most extensive itinerary which featured visits to the old (Antigua) and new (Guatemala City) capitals of the country, tours around the Jade Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and a workshop in chocolate making at the small Chocolate Factory.

2017 @cretive.fellowship alumni Kimberly Cerón Gil joined this year’s participants as a teaching assistant on the trip. As a former fellow, Kimberly was happy to go back into the program and have a totally new experience from the perspective of the leadership team.

“Going on a culture trip was an exciting and life-changing experience. Many of the children had never heard of the old capital of Guatemala, Antigua, and had never been to a museum before. And there they were, comparing what they learned in classes with the modern art they saw at the museum! One could tell it was a totally new and exciting experience for them. Back in 2017, when I won the scholarship and went to Salzburg, it was a life-changing experience for me, too. After completing the challenge and going to Salzburg, I made my decision to become an English teacher. I think, in these pandemic times, the experience the fellows got by going to Antigua and Guatemala City will also become a turning point for some of them,” explained Kimberly while sharing her impressions of the trip.