German linguist’s rewarding experience in Belarus volunteer camp

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“I bought a textbook in Minsk, returned to Germany and started to learn the language,” Ben, another guest of the Belsat TV show Welcome To Belarus, says.

What does such motivation stem from? “This is a result of my interest in your country. It was a sheer accident that I came to Belarus,” Benjamin Hausner, a citizen of Germany, explains.

After finishing school in 2013, he decided to have a gap year and work as a volunteer in another country. “I found such an opportunity in Belarus and thought it would be an interesting experience, as he hardly knew anything of the country which is so close to Germany.” Ben’s first stay in Belarus was about 10 months.

“It was a great time, and the country impressed me much. For the first time, I heard the Belarusian language at a cultural event in Minsk. I did not understand them, because I was learning Russian then, not Belarusian,” Ben said.

Two years ago, he visited Belarus again and decided to learn the language in order to gain a greater understanding of the country:

“I bought a textbook in Minsk and started learning after returning to Germany.”

Ben studied in Poland and Lithuania; now Sociolinguistics is his major in Germany. He might be only 23 years old, but he speaks 8 languages, including Polish, Lithuanian and Belarusian. He is curious about the interrelation of these languages, as well as place names of our region. Ben often travels around Eastern European countries; he visits Belarus several times a year.

We asked Ben if he knew that Belarusians were often called ‘Slavic Germans’.

“No, I didn’t, but I say so sometimes. I visited the neighbouring countries, and I believe that Belarusians are quieter and more modest than, say, Ukrainians or Russians. Such traits are also associated with Germans,” he answered.

This summer Ben has arrived in Belarus to take part in restoring an old school in Minsk region. What for? See the latest episode of Welcome To Belarus!

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