‘It’s a totally new thing for me’

News article

‘It’s a totally new thing for me’
Guest volunteer Sergei has come from Ukraine to live and work alongside residents of our St Albans community for nine months. Guest volunteers enrich the social and creative culture of our communities; this year there will be over 40  people, helping out in five of our nine communities. Like Sergei, most stay for between six and twelve months.
Ready to share
Throughout his time with the community Sergei’s home will be a shared house with Kezia, David, Mattie, Alex and Hannah. Four weeks in, he’s still bowled over by the warm reception they gave him, starting with the welcome banner that Kezia made. ‘This banner is in my room now’, he says. ‘I really appreciated it. I hadn’t expected such a reaction.’

‘It’s a big banner’, says Kezia. ‘I had to make it long – there was a lot to fit on!’

This warmth has helped him get settled at home, and at the community’s art studio, café and allotment: ‘Kezia and others have shown me how everything is done. People are so open and ready to share.’

Cultural exchange

Having studied English at university, Sergei is looking forward to learning more about the culture here and improving his language skills. And with his interest in film and photography, he has a lot to offer at the art studio.

‘Everything they are doing here is surprising, amazing and interesting’, he says. ‘In return, I hope to bring something new and interesting, too. I’m really excited to be here.’