(Interview with Altynay Raskalieva – volunteer from Kazakhstan on the EXPO Milan 2015)
I`ve got to know Altynay in 2013 while participating in the International Youth Meeting for Peace in Morocco. Since that time I was impressed by the mood of this active charming girl with whom we became good friends, regardless that fact we are living in different countries.
Her lifestyle inspires me, so I`ve invited her for the interview, believing that Altynay`s adventures will inspire youth people to leave the comfort zone and try to do something new and unusual.
Q: Tell a little bit about yourself? What are you passionate about? Why did you decide to work abroad?
A: I am an aspiring photographer. I like capturing beautiful moments of everyday life. I love travelling and one of my favorite destinations is Italy with its melodic language and charming culture. When I got to know about the opportunity to work at EXPO in Milan for several months I thought this is something I really wanted.
Q: What is Expo Milano, and what is it about? Tell us more about it.
A: Expo Milano 2015 is the Universal Exhibition which Milan, Italy, was hosting from May 1st to October 31st in 2015. Over this six-month period, Milan became a global showcase where more than 140 participating countries show the best of their technology that offers a concrete answer to a vital need: being able to guarantee healthy, safe and sufficient food for everyone. In addition to the exhibitor nations, the Expo also involves international organizations. Expo has welcomed over 20 million visitors to its 1.1 million square meters of exhibition area.
Q: What was your work about?
A: Each participating country has built its own exhibition area at the fair. Kazakhstan had a pavilion at which various aspects of life and technologies of our country were presented in the form of stands with different topics. Also we had a sand show and a 4D cinema in the pavilion that showed our history and main cities. My main task was introducing Kazakhstan, guiding visitors and assisting them in getting to know our pavilion. Sometimes we had very special guests like politics and celebrities. One of the visitors I guided was the Princess of Thailand Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. She was very curious, attentive and friendly!
Q: Which important skills you`ve got during your work on Expo?
A: First of all, the whole team of volunteers from Kazakhstan was 100 persons and we were divided in three groups. Therefore I believe I improved myself as a team worker since every day we had to work together cohesively with great number of visitors. During the last months of Expo every day we had about 4-5 thousands guests.
Another important thing is deepening my understanding of Italian culture. I had a good level of Italian language and visited this amazing country a couple of times before EXPO. However staying there for half a year gave me an opportunity to get to know Milan, the capital of fashion and Northern pearl of Italy.
Last but not the least is that I had a lot of inspiration for my photography while taking part at such an outstanding international event as the world fair! Intercultural atmosphere, permanent feeling of celebration with the whole globe, meeting a great variety of different people from all around the world develops your personal vision.
Q: What are the pros and cons of working abroad?
A: The advantage is taking up a challenge to go out of your comfort zone which always widens your horizons, getting to know new country, culture and people, maybe even learning a new language. The main drawback is that most likely working abroad you will be far away from your home, family and friends.
Q: What are your next plans?
A: Now when I’m back in Almaty I’d like to spend more time with my family and develop my photographic skills and realize new projects.
Photographs for the article by Altynay Raskalieva.