Getting to Know EUSTORY Alumni: Elene from Georgia
"In my home country, many people still live in the past"
Carrying out physical experiments, writing short stories, doing historical research and playing the piano – if it were up to her, Elene would do all these things at the same time. But first and foremost, she aims at contributing to change in her home country Georgia.
Name: Elene, born in 2002
Lives in: Tbilisi, Georgia
First EUSTORY activity: EUSTORY Summit 2019
Elene, you live in a country which underwent drastic changes during the past decades…
That’s true and fortunately, changes mostly meant political, social and economic improvement. However, many people in my country still live in the past and remember a “Golden Age” of Georgia, when its culture and economy flourished and the kingdom reached the peak of its power. But that was 800 years ago – instead of dwelling on the glory of the Middle Ages we should concentrate on the present and on what we want to achieve in the future.
What about the remembrance of Georgia’s Soviet past?
It is divided: The majority of people associate the Soviet Union with damage and suffering, especially the younger generation sees the roots of current problems and difficulties in exactly that period. At the same time, many elderly people tend to romanticise these “good old times”, which they connect with low prices and their youth. This gap causes a generational conflict in our society.
Is this conflict present in your family?
Not so much, fortunately. My family and I mostly view the past as an opportunity to learn from mistakes. I really enjoy listening to my parents’ or grandparents’ stories of the past, even though they include negative experiences. Their memories often serve as an inspiration for the creative short stories that I write.
You have a variety of hobbies, such as literature and history activities, but you are also involved in a project called “SciLabo ...
Yes, “SciLabo” was my team’s contribution to an international competition which empowers girls to develop useful applications for daily life. We created a mobile app for educational scientific simulations and entertaining games. Students can do experiments in biology, physics and chemistry virtually and test their knowledge with quizzes in different languages.
What was your motivation behind it?
I want to contribute to change in my home country. Most of the schools in Georgia are in a really bad shape with old facilities and no laboratories. Consequently, the vast majority of students only learn the theory without having the opportunity to ever do chemical or physical experiments themselves.
From experiments to experiences: How was the EUSTORY Summit 2019 for you?
I participated in the workshop “Theatres of Memory”, where we tried out different techniques like meditation and improvisation to express our emotions and memories. It was fascinating to get to know people from all over Europe on this quite intimate way.
Has this changed your way of thinking?
Yes, definitely. Spending time with peers from different cultural backgrounds taught me a lot about communication. I learnt to put myself in other people’s shoes, to look at situations from different perspectives. The Summit not only strengthened my curiosity about various historical matters, but made me more open to challenges and new ideas in general.
Is this the path you want to follow in the future?
I’m planning on pursuing an education in physics because I’ve been interested in this field for a very long time now. Apart from that, I am keen on literature and I would love to continue writing. These two careers seem quite distant from each other but I believe combining them is possible.
The interview was conducted by Melina Heinze.