Journey Towards Peace

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Dzmitry Zakharau

Dzmitry Zakharau

Belarus

My name is Dzmitry Zakharau. I am from Belarus, but right now I work in Mongolia as an English Conversation and IELTS teacher. I came to Mongolia in 2019, right after my graduation from Minsk State Linguistic University. In MSLU I was studying Intercultural Relations and in order to deepen my knowledge I went to Islamic Republic of Iran for one year.

In Iran I was a participant in the Saadi Foundation Program. This program is designed for the students, who study Persian and who are interested in Iranian Studies. After graduation I applied to study in the International Center of Persian Studies (Dehkhoda) . In this center I was studying Persian, Iranian Culture, Literature, Political System, and Economics. In 2017 I graduated with a certified Advanced Level in Persian. During my stay in Iran, I was also traveling around the country, studying the social issues, which Iranians face on a daily basis.

After my graduation I came back to Belarus and continued my studies. Before graduation I participated in a number of social events. For example, I was a volunteer in the PR department of the biggest movie festival in Belarus, called “Listapad”. In the PR department I was the only person, who could speak English fluently and who could translate speeches simultaneously, so I became responsible for organizing all the interviews of foreign directors and guests of the festival. I successfully organized around 10 interviews, 3 PR-events, and translated several press releases.

While I was in Belarus, I also used to participate in “Kreaton” events. “Kreaton” used to be a brainstorming event for PR-managers and creators. These professionals were gathering together and divided into teams. Each team could choose a social project from a client, who came to “Kreaton”, and then the teams had 24 hours to create a PR-strategy for them. I took part in several “Kreaton”s. The projects I was working included the following:
PR-strategy for women football, specifically for a women’s football team.
Documentary Movie festival “Watch dogs”.
Inclusive theater for artists with autism.

It is also necessary to mention here that some ideas and parts of the strategy, developed by my teams, were later used by these social projects.

In January 2019 I graduated from Minsk State Linguistic University. Shortly after that I joined the TESOL/TEFL training course. By that moment I fully realized my interest in working in developing countries, since, as I believe, those countries have the biggest potential. After the graduation I reached “Hobby School of Ulanbaatar” and they offered me a position of a primary school ELA teacher.

Shortly after I came to Mongolia, I noticed that there is a huge gap between people living in Ulanbaatar, and people living in the countryside. This gap is of economical, social, and educational nature. Countryside Mongolians mostly couldn’t afford sending their own children to good schools, and they couldn’t afford a foreign teacher. That’s why, as soon as the summer came, I decided to go to the countryside as a volunteer teacher.

My first stop was Khanbogd, Omnigovi province. I was volunteering there in an Education Center, teaching the kids of nomads and miners for 5 weeks. I was teaching students of all age groups, starting from the preschool students, and ending up with 12th graders, who wanted to apply to study abroad. From these students, 2 managed to win a scholarship and study in the USA, and 1 managed to win a scholarship and study in Russia. I also successfully managed to teach reading to a 6-year old child. His family was living right in the middle of the Gobi desert. His Mongolian was not good, and by his behavior I can say that he had some mental issues. Despite that, he managed to learn the English alphabet and start reading simple books in English by the time I was gone.

After volunteering in the Gobi desert, I went to Khuvsghul lake. There I was living in one of the camps. I was teaching English to the local children, who lived in the town of Khatghal. Also I was teaching the students, who were coming together with their families to stay in that camp.

After that I came back to Ulanbaatar. Because of COVID-19 quarantine events, I was teaching mostly online for the 2020-2021 academic year. By the end of the school year I realized that I can help more if I work with high school students. I can help them to get ready for the IELTS and to prepare them for studying at universities abroad. I need to mention that some of my students already took IELTS and the lowest score they got was 7.5.

Right now I am working with them at NEST IT School. Also I am volunteering at “Good Foundation”. “Good foundation” is a private education center, focused on preparing students for studying abroad, and on preparing them for the IELTS test. Right now I am volunteering there as a Speaking teacher. I am also taking part in adapting and setting MBA and Flight Attendant preparation course curriculum. I hope we will start teaching them soon.

In the future I am planning to keep working in the Education sphere. I believe that Education is the best way to promote peace. Academic exchanges, inter school activities, Zoom conferences etc. is the way to make students trust each other. Nowadays school students are future decision-makers therefore if they learn to trust each other to day, if the start having friends from all around the world now, in the future they will feel it more personally, and therefore will have less desire for conflicts.

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