Robert van Dongen, Local Group Exchange: Eindhoven visits Kiev
From the 8th until the 14th of July, the ESTIEM Local Group exchange ‘Eindhoven visits Kiev’ took place. This trip was hosted by awesome people of LG (Local Group) Kiev and boy, I grew to love those people. The night we arrived, two of the LG members were already waiting for us at the airport. They had arranged cheap taxies for us to travel the last few km’s to our hostel. This was the first moment we discovered how kind and hospitable the Ukrainian people are. We even got a CD with the driver’s personal mixtape, since he was also a part-time DJ. But Let me tell you about our amazing week!
The first day we got up early and walked to the nearby park for some teambuilding activities. After the activity, we went on a city tour, took some nice group pictures and had lunch and dinner. For me this was the first time I got to eat traditional Ukrainian food, and I really liked it! But the highlight of the day was Kiev’s very own Hedonism Fest in the evening. The beach there almost felt like ones in Italy instead of Kiev. However, this was just the first day. The second day we had to counteract all the hedonistic festivities from the first two nights a bit, so we went on a religious tour, visited a chocolate factory, went to the university campus and had a grand finale with the organized Ukrainian Night! Needless to say, we were all very tired and went to bed at 22:00. At least… that is what I believe we were supposed to do…
Luckily we had some relaxing to do the next day. One of the main events was a really nice Picknick/BBQ in a nearby forest. There, the camera managed to catch a few pictures of us posing “Like one of those French Girls” and later that night of us singing “We are the champions”. I think this was the moment LG Kiev found out why we almost never win the Eurovision Song Festival in The Netherlands (;D). On the fourth day we left early for a tour to the Motherland Statue and History of WOII museum. I must say this was one of the most impressive war museums I have ever visited in my life. Afterwards, we got a few hours to contemplate our freedom with some free time (see what I did there?) and a fun pub crawl. I do not remember much from the pub crawl, but I am sure it was awesome!
The fifth day we got the opportunity to show our entrepreneurial and cultural sides during the Unit City and Pinchuk Art Center visits. This was already the last day for most of us, but the awesome members of LG Kiev organised a StraBa Party which really lifted all our spirits! Yay! Sadly, all good things come to an end. This meant I had to pack my things and head back to Eindhoven. Final shout-out to the beautiful personal letters we all received from Mariia before leaving. I found this just one of the many examples of how nice the people in Kiev are! LG Kiev, thank you for the great exchange and let me end with this final note: Зебра!
– Robert van Dongen