When I applied to the TLG program, I was looking forward to not only increasing my experience within the classroom setting, but also looking forward to rediscovering my old hobbies. After weeks of reading books that had been collecting dust on my shelves in America, I decided to explore other options to occupy my time in Georgia.
I began by asking my co-teachers what options were available in my village. Apparently, there are many language tutors that can teach me Georgian, French or Russian. Additionally, there are specialists who could instruct me about the rules and strategies of chess or how to play panduri, the Georgian guitar.
Luckily, my village is also five minutes by taxi from the nearest town. In this town, I have recently begun to take piano lessons, and am currently contemplating Georgian dance lessons. I had heard stories of past volunteers in my region taking dance classes. At first I thought it was strange, but I as I began thinking about the benefits of dance lessons, the reasons became apparent. Like many volunteers living in a village, going for a run can seem intimidating since villagers may stare, ask questions, or even follow you. Therefore, dance lessons are a great way to still get cardio and learn about Georgian culture. Also, for those who are athletes there are even swimming lessons offered at the new gym.
Furthermore, I have signed up for free online courses. Developed to provide courses from notable universities to students around the world for free, Coursera.org has a thorough list of interesting classes. The program has courses in most academic disciplines. Lectures are videotaped, and assignments are given well in advance. At the end of each course, students who completed all of the assignments are awarded a certificate. This semester, I will be taking courses discussing philosophical reasoning and economics.
So, if you are looking for something to fill your time, ask you co-teachers, family members, and even students about the opportunities near you. If the term “lessons” sound financially intimidating, don’t let it scare you. Most lessons I have inquired about are extremely affordable. Do be warned though, your teachers may not know English; however, that’s just part of the adventure, right?