Every summer a young Latvian from abroad joins the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia’s staff with the support of a stipend from the Latvian American Association (ALA). Working with the museum’s guides and other specialists, they get to know the history of Latvia and the work of the museum, but more importantly, they meet with their peers and "integrate" into real life in Latvia. Here's what this year's intern has to say about her work!
“Hello, my name is Marite Pelēce! This year I received the ALA stipend, and so I am working at the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia. The stipend provides an opportunity for college students to work as interns in Latvia for 6-8 weeks, provided they fulfill the 150 hours of work. Many previous classmates from Garezers have returned year after year because of the opportunities they have recieved from their first jobs with the ALA stipend.
“The last time I was in Latvia was five years ago, initially to attended a 2 week tour around Latvia with “Sveiks, Latvija”. On this trip, instead of going home to attend Garezers, I stayed in Latvia and enjoying every moment. Knowing very well that in the summer of 2018 there would be Baltica, the XXVI Song and XVI Dance festivals and of course the centennial, I really wanted to return and be here.
“My mother’s parents come from Latvia, from Aluksne and Liepaja, but my father is of Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish and German descent. Both of my mother’s parent’s families fled during the Soviet Occupation to DP camps in Germany, and from there to Minnesota, USA. Our family is very proud of our heritage and what we have endured
“So far in Latvia, I arrived in time for the annual market at the Open Air Museum. I also got the opportunity to dance, perform, and enjoy life as a participant in Baltica folklore festival and XXVI Dziesmu un XIV Deju Svetki with Rigas Dance Klub. Also later there was a lot to do as I attended 2x2 a summer camp for young adults, and visited family in Liepaja and Aluksne, and enjoyed our cabin in Jurmala.
“My work life has been really pleasant, my boss and colleagues are wonderful and it’s been nice getting to know them as people not only as work associates. It’s been a pleasure to be trusted with the work I’ve been assigned to me just as they trust their regular employees”.