‘At first, I wanted to give up on the internship at the Burdenko Institute of Neurosurgery, because it is very difficult for me to see sick children. I wasn't ready mentally. However, after I met the children all my fear disappeared. We had a good day with these wonderful kids’, Zinaida Mheyan, the IBS RANEPA student, talks about her voluntary social internship as a member of the ‘Danilovtsy’ volunteer movement. In just two years, more than 230 undergraduate students at the Institute have seen how the volunteer groups of the movement work from the inside. They have visited nursing centers, orphanages and children's hospitals. This year it was decided to continue the internship online. "Danilovtsy" has been developing this direction for two years and there are stable volunteer online groups in various regional closed institutions, as mental houses, nursing homes and orphanages.

‘The online format differs in many ways from the format of internships that we had in previous years’, says Zemfira Galimullina, the coordinator of social internships at the Faculty of International Business and Business Administration of the IBS RANEPA. ‘However, considering the current requirements and limitations, we find this solution very useful and interesting. As a result, students are not limited to visiting institutions only in Moscow, but also get the opportunity to visit institutions in other regions of Russia. In addition, students study online communication approaches and can get a deeper insight into organizational processes while preparing online meetings.

This year 50 people are taking an internship at ‘Danilovtsy’. First, an online introductory meeting was held for students, at which the principles of volunteers and the online format details were discussed. Then the students were divided into groups according to the activities they would like to organize during the internship: conducting quizzes or dance masterclasses for children in orphanages, reading books for adults in a nursing center.

‘We offered an internship option that allows each student to have four online visits’, says Nikolay Erokhin, the head of the ‘Danilovtsy’ online project. ‘On the first day the volunteers will get to know the people from their groups, for whom they then will be able to organize up to two events’.

In order to better prepare students for independent work, Nikolay discussed with them at a separate meeting the nuances of online communication with people, who live in closed institutions.

‘It’d be good that you appeared at the first meeting not anonymously, but as a living person. You should briefly tell something about yourself’, he addressed the students. ‘Sometimes volunteers show pets or even their apartment and the view from the window. But it is even more important to write down or remember the names of the group members. I sometimes take a screenshot if there are a lot of people and sign their names. We all understand that we do not come as animators to entertain strangers, as there are already a lot of events going on. We come to talk to people individually. That is why it is important to record the personal information that people say about themselves, so that we can discuss it later. It is important to keep a piece of paper nearby, on which to write everything down’.

The events that the students have already prepared for the internship were discussed separately. The plans included a dance dedicated to the Victory Day, a movie quiz, presentations about the depths of the ocean and different cities, stories about student life and a bunch of other interesting things. However, there are subtleties in showing a presentation in a neuropsychiatric nursing home. For example, it is important that there is little text in it, because there may be a difficulty with reading, and some might sit far from the screen. Therefore, the pictures should be bright, large and beautiful.

As for dance classes, the background, the clothing and the position of the computer should be considered. The feet of the dancers should be seen in the screen.

Some volunteers decided to read books in their groups. ‘Danilovtsy’ have two online reading clubs. In the children’s club ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ will be read, and in the adult’s club ‘Fate of a Man’ by Mikhail Sholokhov.

Nikolai has also analyzed the features of creating quizzes in a special template. ‘Quizzes that we make in Worldwall are well perceived because there is a feeling of participating in a television show. There is also music and different designs. In general, preparing for online meetings is a great pleasure in itself. You will learn so many interesting things!

The internship will take place from May 10th to June 14th.

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