Sziastok! My name is Charlotte Flynn and I just began my year as a volunteer in Budapest. I’m part of a program through the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) called Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM). My program has had a partnership with Phiren Amenca for many years now, and I am excited to be a part of this continuing relationship.
This year I will be working with fellow volunteers Max and Angela to help organize different events related to Roma dialogue and advocacy. As someone who has had no pervious experience in Roma-related activism, I am eager to listen and learn, as well as discover what I can offer to the Phiren Amenca organization. I am hopeful that my time here can also help me better understand and face issues of racial discrimination and prejudice back home in the US, too.
My volunteer year will also include assisting in English classes at the Fasor School. I previously worked with an organization in the US providing English as a Second Language (ESL) lessons for members of the immigrant community. I hope to continue teaching ESL in the future and am looking forward to seeing the ways in which this year of English assistantship helps further develop my teaching skills.
One thing I am very excited about as a volunteer in Hungary is learning the language. I studied Linguistics at university and have always enjoyed studying other languages and seeing how they are similar and different. I didn’t realize it before, but I think I may learn a little Romani from my roommates as well! Something interesting that my roommate Max and I have discovered from just a week of living together, is that there are many common or similar words in Romani and Hindi (which I studied while living in India a couple years ago). These range from the word for “ear” – kan, to the word for “god” – dev, to the word for “give” – de. I’m not sure what will come of this interesting realization, but I’m enthusiastic about learning more!