Just over two months ago, Europe was left completely shocked. Media images in the news presented an new challenge marked by horror, fear, and uncertainty: war had broken out in Ukraine.
Many of you probably thought that something like this could never happen in Europe, nor in a country so similar to Spain: both in location and culture. History has proved, however, that once again humans do not learn from our mistakes. Sometimes, our differences resolve through our most basic instincts, and reasoning disappears.
While it may be a broad and ambitious statement, there is something positive that this situation has shown for humanity. All of Europe has united and set aside differences, to help the Ukrainian people. The change was rapid and abruptly visible through all countries across the continent. Social networks, international companies, small businesses, and even individuals did everything possible to gather strength and support for a country in need of aid and community.
The capital of Spain quickly filled with collection points for donations of medical supplies, food, clothing, and other necessities. While for us, these things are taken for granted, the Ukrainians who had to flee their country could not count on such items as readily available. Now fled from their home country, many have chosen different European countries to take refuge. Many destinations, such as Spain, have reached out to refugees to offer their hospitality and help when possible.
It is quite the paradox that, the concerns of the Ukrainians before the war were just like ours: wanting to get a better job, receive good grades at school, or other day-to-day activities. Now, the Ukrainians must focus their priorities on the safety of their loved ones and the uncertain future of their country.
Since the initial creation of AIL Madrid´s first school site, the values as an organization have always been very clear: respect, generosity, and companionship. With the situation in Ukraine breaking out, it was immediately clear that we needed to do our part to help as a community.
As we are a language school, we understand the importance of knowing the language of the country you live in. The spectrum of language fluency can take you from being comfortable with something as basic as shopping for groceries or communicating with locals, all the way to something as intense as a job interview or feeling integrated in the national culture. That´s why we´ve offered our Spanish evening courses to help alleviate the language barrier and make day-to-day life in the city just a bit more comfortable.
Today, after quite a few sessions of these Spanish classes, we´ve had the chance to meet some of the members of the AIL Team who worked with these brave folks. These students have worked harder than we´ve ever seen to learn Spanish intensively and make great progress in their fluency. Through big smiles and laughs, they told us that they no longer listen to anything other than music in Spanish. As ambitious students, they´ve been writing down words they hear in songs to understand their meaning even further. After these classes, they feel much more integrated as part of the AIL School as well as in Spain as a whole.
Speaking truthfully, the emotions we´ve felt today and through this experience are inexplicable. When massive global events like this happen, we face the harsh reality up close. It makes us thankful and realize that what is important is our health, happiness, and peace.
We continue with the hope that this war will end peacefully soon, and that all of our students and community can return to normality that we desperately need.
What do you think about our offers to the students? Have you joined any campaigns to help Ukraine?
I know this blog has been a bit different, but sometimes, it´s important for us to talk about these crucial topics and educate ourselves on a reality so close to us.
See you next time!