World Link alumna Daria Batalova (Minnesota/Ukraine) has been helping her country since the moment she came back from her exchange year in 2012. It is her love for her country and her passion for helping others which has opened the door to new, exciting, and eye-opening opportunities which better herself and her homeland.
Daria has recently returned from a 5-week internship in Canada’s House of Commons through the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Program (CUPP). She was assigned to intern in the office of Christine Moore, MP for Abitibi-Temiscaminque. During her five weeks she met many other heads of the government like Jason Kenney, one of the longest serving MPs in the Parliament of Canada, the Honorable Speaker of the House of Commons; Geoff Regan, and most excitingly the Ukrainian Ambassador Andriy Shevchenko whom is a FLEX Alumni from 1994!
For Daria, her passion started during her exchange year, and only continues to grow:
“I still reminisce about my exchange experience that changed me and my personality tremendously. It made me more confident and open, showed that the impossible is possible and simply let me look at the world around me differently.
Four years ago I became a World Link alumna and from that time my life has never been the same. I have traveled to 10 countries, met a bunch of people that inspired me to be even more pro-active, launched two volunteer projects that keeps inspiring hundreds of young people around Ukraine to build the country they want to live in, found an interest in politics through an internship that turned out to be eye-opening and mind-blowing experience.
In April and May I was honored to intern in the Canadian Parliament and I was assigned to work in the office of the most enchanting young woman and the most dedicated politician Christine Moore. Over those two months I not only observed how political system works in Canada, but I also had a great chance to learn and contribute myself. Every day in the Parliament was full of new challenges, inspiring meetings and great lessons that I will make sure to implement in Ukraine. Having this experience convinced me once again that it is so essential to be a global citizen and that all the opportunities we receive on our way will pay off in the future and form the personalities that won’t be afraid of making changes.”
This internship was a great honor for Daria, but to World Link it was no surprise she was selected. One of Daria’s first projects she organized was “Help and Travel”, a week long community service event in Ukraine where a group of volunteers travel and complete various projects to better villages and towns throughout the country. After four years, Daria has decided to pass the torch to other passionate youth in order to pursue other opportunities. She is now organizing a similar project with the objective to bring together youth of Eastern and Western Ukraine in completing community service projects in rural areas. Her hopes of this project are to breakdown stereotypes the youth have of each other and unite them in a common cause. On top of these projects, Daria has been the FLEX City Representative in which she was put in charge of organizing FLEX Alumni to do community service projects in the city. She is also teaching English at “Speak Well”, a local English language learning school. Recently she has been helping at FLEX Pre-Departure Orientations (PDO) for incoming FLEX program year students.
Volunteering at PDO has brought up feelings of nostalgia for her exchange year:
“Every time I teach at PDO, it makes me think a lot about my year and people I met in the USA . [World Link was] the highlight of my year. I learned so much and I got so inspired. [World Link] made me change my attitude to life, myself, and to my country.”
Doors will continue to open for Daria and she will continue to make waves in her country and across the world. Her alumni activities have already helped hundreds, if not thousands of others and this is only the beginning.