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Tuesday 17 August 2004
Working abroad: Jess Rudkin - Week 4
Written by Jess Rudkin, AIESEC member
Jess (second left) making varenki with friends
Jess (second left) making varenki with friends

Jess Rudkin is working in the Czech Republic this summer.

She's on a placement with the AIESEC student organisation, and she's writing a regular diary on BBC Birmingham.


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Working with AIESEC
Jame Eder introduces the student organisation.

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Amaneeta Shokur explains more about AIESEC and how she is involved.

Scheila came to Birmingham from Brazil on a student scheme run by AIESEC.

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Population: 1 billion
(UN, 2003)
Capital: New Delhi
Major languages: Hindi, English and 17 other official languages
Major religions: Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism
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Exports: Agricultural products, textiles, gems and jewellery, software and technology, engineering goods, chemicals, leather


AIESEC (pronounced "i-sek") stands for the Association for the International Exchange of Students in Economics and Commerce.

AIESEC is the world's largest international student organisation with 30,000 members in over 86 countries.

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Armenia night

Armenian food
Armenian food

This week has been truly international - we had a cultural presentation about Armenia one evening this week.

We tried a range of different food-spiced dried beef, lavash bread, and walnuts in grape syrup. As well as the food we sampled the famous Armenian Cognac! We listened to some of the traditional music and watched a film set in Armenia. Nune also gave a presentation about life in Armenia.

It was really interesting to take part in the evening, I didn't really know anything about the country before but now I have a real understanding of life and tradition in Armenia.

Ukranian food

Making varenki
Making varenki

Not only did we have a taste of Armenian food but Ukrainian too. Ivan helped Orsi and I to make Ukrainian Varenki, this is mashed potato and onion put inside a dough parcel which is boiled and eaten with sour cream.

It was a messy job and it took us a while to make the dough and mash the potatoes, but it was worth it because the end result was so good! Rene finished his traineeship this week so it was time for another farewell party.

Escape to Olomoucs

Astromonical Clock
Astronomical Clock

I decided that after the past few weeks activity, I needed a more relaxed weekend and so we went to Olomoucs, a historical town a little way away from Ostrava.

Olomoucs town centre is a UNESCO World Heritage site, home to an astronomical clock and the trinity statue. We visited a number of churches and historical buildings around the centre of the town. Olomoucs has a very tranquil atmosphere and we enjoyed lunch in the market square before exploring the park outside the old city wall and making the trip back to Ostrava.

Climbing the tower

View from the clock tower
Astronomical Clock

This weekend I decided to visit the town hall tower - something I have wanted to do since arriving. From the top of the tower, there are excellent views of Ostrava and some of the surrounding countryside and mountains.

The view from the top gives another perspective of the town and it is possible to see how the city was built up. I also noticed that there seemed to be more parkland areas in the city than I had noticed on the ground.

Holiday cottage

Jess with Silvie's parents
Jess with Silvie's parents

During the week I spent the day out of the Ostrava. Silvie, one of the AIESECers here invited me to visit her parents at their holiday cottage in the Beskydy Mountains.

The cottage is about an hour and a half away from Ostrava by train so we got an early train to make the most of our time. The weather was perfect when we arrived, it was hot but not humid like Ostrava and the sun was shining.

We went for a walk in the wood near the cottage to explore the area and take in the scenery. Silvie's mum cooked a traditional Czech lunch for us - mushroom soup, pork, cream sauce and dumplings, followed by apple pie. It was nice to taste home-cooked food after only eating traditional Czech food in the university canteen and restaurants.

View from the cottage
View from the cottage

In the afternoon we went to a nearby town Frenstat Pod Radhostem, for a look around before walking a bit further up to see the ski jump and the view of the town and its surroundings.

In the evening we went to a restaurant in the hills for dinner. That evening there was a meteor shower! We all went out into the garden to watch the shooting stars - a nice end to a good day!

Busy week ahead

Now I am back to working hard, I have a busy week ahead of me. I have planned to go to Bratislava for the weekend, which I am really looking forward to - an opportunity to see another country and meet more new people as well as seeing some friends.

I only have two weeks left here, in some ways I feel like I have only just arrived but in others I feel like I have been through so much. Now that I am adjusted to the culture, I'm not looking forward to leaving but I am determined to make the most of my time left in the Czech Republic and leave on a high. So we will see what the next two week bring!

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Written by Jess Rudkin

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