Justine Kassay

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

Chatham University

Heinz Programming Area:
Children, Youth, and Families
International Experience Summary:

Justine Kassay was given the opportunity to volunteer in two different facilities in one of Europe’s Southeastern countries Moldova.  She volunteered at a facility called “Start” which housed approximately 36 students aged ten to forty five. All of the students in the facility had been diagnosed with a mentally handicap such as Down’s syndrome, Autism and Epilepsy. As the first volunteer to the facility Justine was brought on as another member of the faculty at Start and was given a class of her own to teach. Justine not only did fun and interesting things with the students such as “Olympic Relays” and “World Cup Moldova”, she learned a vast mount from the students. Justine was able to teach the students several English phrases as none of them knew any English, and she was able to learn many Russian and Romanian phrases as the students spoke some Romanian and some Russian. As a teacher Justine experienced the most difficulty with the language barrier, but was able to overcome it with her students and flow freely in the classroom using body language and word cards. Her second volunteer experience was in a pediatric oncology until of a Moldovan hospital. This experience was not pleasant as the hospital was not very cleans and the workers and nurses switched treatment needles from child to child which was heartbreaking. Much of Justine’s free time was spent enjoying the city of Chisinau and sightseeing amongst the markets and malls and people watching in the parks. On weekends she was able to see a great deal of weddings being held in the parks which were quite a beautiful sight. Each weekend she was also able to take a trip, once to some beautiful Monasteries, once to the Ukraine and once to Moldova’s countryside. The international experience that Justine encountered was more meaningful than anything she had ever done before in her life, it really opened up a whole new world to her and she would love to be able to do such a rewarding experience again.

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: Moldovan School Day with Elementary Students