Stories of resilience and determination frequently surface during war and chaos. The story of Olga Voitovych, a young Ukrainian woman who has survived and thrived despite life's hardships in a war zone and the ENGin program, is one such uplifting example. Olga's story illustrates how far one person can come through hard work, dedication, and collaboration across borders.
Introduction to Olga Voitovych
Olga Voitovych is from Vinnytsia, Ukraine, but her life took an unexpected turn when she was internally relocated from Kyiv due to the ongoing war in the region. Olga works as the Program Manager at the East Europe Foundation, a Ukrainian non-profit charitable organization. Her work primarily revolves around the "Phoenix: Resilient Ukraine in the Time of War" project, which aims to support civil society, develop technological solutions, and promote the institutional development of NGOs. With a decade of experience in public policy and international relations, Olga is not only a professional but also a mother, adding another layer of responsibility to her life.
Living in a war zone demands unwavering dedication to helping people and ensuring that one's contributions make a meaningful impact on the ongoing battle. For Olga, it is a delicate balance between fulfilling her professional duties and embracing the opportunities life presents.
Motivation for Joining the ENGin Program
Olga's motivation to join the ENGin program was multifaceted. As a lifelong learner, she views continuous education as a key to personal development and societal progress. While improving her English proficiency was a primary goal, Olga saw ENGin as an opportunity to serve as a global ambassador for Ukraine's current situation.
"We, Ukrainians, are all ambassadors of current news about the war and I would use any opportunity to share this information with people around the globe; the world shouldn’t forget of what Ukraine is going through now," says Olga.
Additionally, Olga was keen on cultural exchange and gaining a fresh perspective on different systems, people's thinking, and success stories from other countries. Little did she know that ENGin had another surprise in store for her - a buddy, Rosemary, who would make her ENGin experience even more valuable.
The Impact and Surprises of the ENGin Program
Participating in the ENGin program exceeded Olga's expectations. Not only did it enhance her English-speaking skills, but it also provided a platform for discussions on a wide range of topics. Olga and her buddy, Rosemary, engaged in conversations about current global developments, gender-based violence, entrepreneurship, leadership, societal changes, and more. Each session was a one-hour journey filled with English practice, coaching, tutoring, and spirited discussions.
The most surprising aspect of ENGin for Olga was the program's ability to match participants with similar interests. She expressed her gratitude for having Rosemary as her buddy and how they often found themselves on the same page when discussing complex topics. This cultural exchange and exposure to different perspectives were invaluable to Olga's personal growth.
Improvements in English Skills and Its Enjoyable Journey
Olga acknowledges that learning English is a continuous process, and the more she practiced, the more she realized there was room for improvement. ENGin's structure encouraged her to read more in English, watch English-language videos, and seek opportunities for English interactions, such as participating in interviews.
For Olga, learning English is not just a task but an enjoyable journey. Finding joy in the process of language learning is key to noticing significant improvements over time.
The Unforgettable Buddy Experience
Olga's relationship with her buddy is nothing short of fantastic. Their sessions are filled with humor, and there is never enough time to cover all the topics they want to discuss. They share opinions on challenging topics like politics and justice, bringing their different backgrounds and perspectives to the table. Olga greatly values this cultural exchange and cherishes the friendship that has developed during their ENGin sessions.
How ENGin Transformed Olga's Life
ENGin has had a profound impact on Olga's life. Beyond enhancing her English skills, the program has been a source of motivation and support. It is not just about learning a language; it is about connecting with people who volunteer their time and effort to help Ukrainians like Olga. The program has reminded her of the kindness that exists in the world and the importance of personal and professional development, even in challenging circumstances.
A Special ENGin Moment
One of the most memorable moments of Olga's ENGin journey was when she mentioned her planned educational trip to Cambridge and the topic of peace-building and reconciliation. To her surprise, Rosemary, her buddy, had in-depth knowledge of this specific area due to her studies. They delved into discussions about conflicts worldwide, creating a truly special moment of connection and shared expertise.
Structured Sessions with Buddy
Olga and Rosemary had a structured approach that ensured their meetings were both productive and enjoyable. First, they would agree on a specific topic in advance, setting the stage for their conversation. This pre-planning allowed them to dive deep into various subjects during their sessions, adding an element of variety and spontaneity to their discussions. To enrich their conversations and broaden their horizons, Olga and Rosemary sometimes shared reading materials or video resources between sessions. This practice not only expanded their knowledge but also gave them fresh content to discuss and exchange opinions on.
One of Olga's favorite aspects of their sessions was the small talk at the beginning. They would share personal details, discuss how they spent their free time, and engage in friendly conversations. This informal and warm start created a friendly atmosphere, fostering an environment where they felt comfortable expressing themselves without fear of judgment. As a testament to their growing friendship, Olga and Rosemary even became "friends" on Instagram. This connection extended their discussions to the personal realm, providing additional topics and dimensions to explore during their ENGin sessions.
"It was an absolutely special moment of finding the person who is your program match - emotionally, personally and professionally!"
Adapting to Life in a War Zone with ENGin
Living in a war zone has its unique challenges, but Olga has found ways to adapt and thrive. ENGin has been a flexible and supportive program that allows her to maintain a sense of normalcy and personal development amid adversity. Olga's experiences in ENGin serve as a reminder that, even in the toughest of times, individuals can find opportunities to grow and connect.
Words of Encouragement to Young Ukrainians
Olga encourages young Ukrainians to register for this transformative opportunity, emphasizing that ENGin is about more than just learning English. It is about friendship, support, and the realization that there are people worldwide willing to volunteer their time to help Ukrainians. Olga believes that ENGin has the power to remind us all of the kindness that exists in the world, even in the face of adversity.
Olga Voitovych's ENGin journey is a shining example of how education, connection, and determination can empower individuals to overcome challenging circumstances. Her story is a testament to the strength of Ukrainian women and the positive impact of programs like ENGin on their lives.