Simona Safarikova

Age: 31

Country of origin: Czech Republic

Glen Participant in 2006

Internship: Educational and free time activities in a school in Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia

Current occupation: Teaching at the Department of Development Studies in Olomouc and doing her PhD at the Faculty of Sport in the field of Sport and Development

When I was a participant in GLEN in 2006 I actually went to Mongolia with the intention of helping or saving people. But when I became a GLEN tutor a year later something in my head clicked. I started to be able to shape the program and I realized that we would have to be much more modest and self-critical about the roles we are taking when it comes to development cooperation. This is when we started to put a much stronger emphasis on Global Education. In practice this means for me taking responsibility for your actions and being aware of global connections.

I feel like I’ve become less naive and more powerful at the same time. Less naive in the sense that I have become much more aware of the injustices going on in the world. And at the same time I feel empowered to do something about these injustices. In GLEN I meet all these people who are hoping to change something and it gives me the feeling that together we might be able to get something moving. This works on an international level as well as on a local level. The Czech GLEN-participants have actually become a close-knit community. We go on weekend-trips together, we’ve organized exhibitions and events and we’ve simply become good friends.

I was a tutor three times and twice a lead-facilitator. GLEN has remained very playful and open, but at the same time critical thinking has become more important. When I was a participant in 2006 we didn’t talk so much about European privileges and structural racism. Now these topics have grown really important in the seminars. It’s the fact that there is always new input and new people that made me come back to GLEN time and time again. This constant challenge also helped me a lot to develop on a professional level. Many of the skills and methods I have learnt in GLEN are now very useful for my work at the university. Five years ago I wouldn’t have been able to stand in front of 60 people and give a speech in English.


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