The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)
A slice of home
Students from the Eastern Partnership European School Scholarship Programme no longer have to live in temporary accommodations. Now they have a space of their own to call home while studying.
Just a few steps away from the New School in Tbilisi, Georgia, around the corner from the gym, about 50 students from the six Eastern Partnership countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine – live, study and relax together. The newly built, on-site Johannes Hahn Dormitory, named for the European Union (EU) Commissioner who supported the scholarship programme, has now become the students own little slice of home.
With technical assistance and guidance from the EU and UNOPS, the New School funded and contracted local companies to build the dormitory to house the students – a more conveniently located, cosier environment than the two hotels that previously served as their home away from home in Tbilisi.
“Beyond studying together, having the experience of living together in the student residence, you learn a lot more about [each] other. So you don’t only learn to exchange ideas together through study but you also learn about the others’ way of life, habits, culture,” says Vincent Rey, Head of Cooperation Section, Delegation of the EU to Georgia.
“The dorm provides a sense of wellbeing, of security for the students,” says Graeme Tyndall, UNOPS Programme Manager.
The students no longer have to commute to the school from the centre of town every day – and have created their own little community on the grounds of the New School.
- Maksim Lukashkoui, Belarus
For Maksim the dorm is “preparation for life.” He points out that it’s harder to live away from home as now students must do on their own many of the things they depend on their families for.
- Lilit Mehrabyan, Armenia
“There was some stuff that our parents used to do, for example, washing our clothes and ironing them. But now we have to do that,” says Lilit. She found the change difficult at first, but living in the dorm with other scholarship students helped her adjust. “As there are many people around, we actually help each other so it makes it easier to live far from family.”
- Mykhailo Ivanov, Ukraine
“I was always interested in discovering new countries and new people and making new friends. And this programme gives me the opportunity to live in [a] different cultural habitat,” says Mykhailo. Here, he chats with Maksim Lukashkoui, Belarus, in the dorm’s kitchen.
Although they have a rigorous school schedule, students find a few minutes to relax in the dorm’s game room. “I really enjoy talking with other people coming from different countries, different cultures, backgrounds. It’s amazing,” says Constantin Arhip from Moldova.
The Eastern Partnership European School Scholarship Programme aims to promote secondary education opportunities for six EU Eastern Partnership countries.
About the project
The Eastern Partnership European School Scholarship Programme provides scholarships for students from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine to study for an International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme with a European studies focus at the New School in Tbilisi, Georgia.
The scholarship programme is designed and funded by the European Union and administered by UNOPS. The New School is the main educational partner for this pilot programme, hosting the scholarship recipients as they complete their studies.
UNOPS also provided technical assistance and guidance for the construction of an on-campus dorm for the scholarship recipients, as well conducted a feasibility study for the possible establishment of a European school in Georgia – with the long-term strategy of introducing quality European educational opportunities within the Eastern Partnership countries and beyond.