Students and professors of the College of Europe, located in the Belgian city of Bruges, had a chance to learn about Belarus in an interactive and fun way. The College welcomed a book presentation by Maryia Charakova, who brought Heta Belarus, Dzietka!, a humorous country guide, as well as a number of other activities: one could take part in a factual quiz with questions on Belarus, get a few language lessons in the linguistic cafe, try their luck in a lottery for the main prize of This Land Called Belarus, an English translation of the book by a well-known Belarusian writer and historian Uladzimir Arlou, and even try real Belarusian draniki for lunch in the student cafeteria!
|Henadz Sobal (on the left), ODB Brussels intern, Maryia Charakova (on the right), one of the authors of Heta Belarus, Dzietka!, at the presentation|
The National Days at the College of Europe is a tradition that goes back more than 30 years and is a reflection of the College's cultural diversity. Established in 1949, this postgraduate school, which specializes in European studies and calls to "strengthen the spirit of solidarity and mutual understanding between the peoples of Western Europe", today welcomes among its ranks students from Central and Eastern Europe and, of course, those from the former Soviet Union.
During the National Days - or even Weeks - held at the College, students from different countries come together in groups to come up with the best way to tell other students about their country's culture, then deal with organizational matters and raise funds to hold activities. The most active and diligent students can count on the support of the College administration - for example, to make their country's national dish "the dish of the day" for 400 people!
|Cooking draniki||Students enjoying national Belarusian food|
This year, two Belarusian students are taking classes at the college: Kseniya Pavlovich from the EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies and Anastasiya Maisenia from the European Legal Studies. The girls chose to join the so-called Baltic National Week together with Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia – no wonder they say that our outlook on life and our temperament is closer to that of people of the North.
|During the quiz|
Kseniya Pavlovich notes that Belarus is not really well-known at the moment, even though last year our fellow Belarusian Svetlana Alexievich won the Nobel Prize in Literature; however, none of the four questions in the factual quiz, which covered sports, history and even music, were left unanswered. A Danish student Kereto Gormsen was announced to be the lucky winner of the lottery and awarded the book by Uladzimir Arlou; the next day Kereto helped Anastasiya Maisenia cook draniki in the kitchen of the student cafeteria. Administration of the College agreed to pick the Belarusian dish for the "dish of the day" for everyone, seeing how much effort our girls put into organizing the National Days.
|Kereto Gormsen, a student from Denmark, receives "This Land called Belarus" by Uladzimir Arlou|
Visitors of the "Heta Belarus, Dzietka!" presentation were treated to marshmallows, home-made baked apples with honey and nuts, and bread kvass. Books were sold and could be signed by Maryia Charakova, one of the authors who wrote the texts in the book. Finally, one could get a taste of the Belarusian language - and thus, as they say, touch the soul of the Belarusian people - with Kseniya Pavlovich at the Belarusian table in the multilingual linguistic cafe.
ODB Brussels sponsored the event. We wish the students every success in their studies and motivation to further promote their country!
|Together with Filip Vandenbroele, Honorary consul of Belgium in Belarus (second from the right)|