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Global Youth Service Day in Sofia

Septoff Elijah Gysd

By Elijah S., YES Abroad 2016-2017, Bulgaria

It was Global Youth Service Day a few weeks ago, which means many teenagers around the world went out and did community service, myself included. I’ve been teaching English for a few months now through a foundation called the Listen Up Foundation. With them I have been teaching other teenagers who are hard of hearing like myself. Normally I have been assisting an adult Bulgarian teacher, Ashod, teach the students. Although my Bulgarian is not very good, and the students all have differing levels of English skill, we still have been able to talk, have normal conversations, and learn new words from both sides. On Global Youth Service Day, I taught the class alone because Ashod went to the U.S for a month. It certainly wasn’t our most productive meeting without him, but we were still able to talk and learn. Learning a language is hard and it’s even harder when you can’t hear fully, but we still manage. I’m used to having to ask people to repeat what they just said, but I’m not as used to it when people ask me that. It’s been a learning process - learning how to talk to other hard of hearing people, learning how to teach, and also learning more about Bulgarian culture and language through the students, as well. Global Youth Service Day is not the reason I started to volunteer with Listen Up Foundation, but it’s a good reminder of why I’m doing it: to be part of the Sofia community and, even if just in the smallest of ways, help the world become more unified.