Darta grew up in a small village in Latvia. When she started her Award she enjoyed experiencing how interested in and productive she could be in areas she has never tried before. She credits the Award with helping her find her chosen career path and says she finds it easier to make decisions than she did before.
“I would like to introduce you with my own experience in the way of who I am today. I grew up in a small village with my mother and grandmother. We weren’t in the position to travel around and experience the world. Despite that, I always wanted to see and do everything the world has to offer.
“First I became aware of the Award when I was in primary school and I was given an opportunity to participate in a summer camp organised by the Award Latvia. The camp’s programme was so diverse, from outdoor painting in the early morning, hiking through the woods and helping the local community, to hearing different languages and seeing different cultures. That was the first time I ever spoke English to non-Latvian speakers, first time I saw different skin colours, first time I learned how to use a map and how to communicate with individual and unique mindsets.
“I joined Award program shortly after and started to set my goals. It is interesting how productive and resourceful you become when you have a clear vision and goals to reach. During my time in this programme I hiked around a hundred kilometers, translated, played piano, helped neighbours, learned French, were socially active and communicated a lot!
“The Award helped me to choose my future path and vision of career. I majored in Languages and Intercultural Communication, and that led to seeking job connected with interactive aspects of culture and now I am working as a manager in the European Union house in Latvia. And I never considered me being good at sports or reading maps, but after Award I believed in myself and now my full-time hobby for three years is sailing which combines both — navigational skills and active lifestyle.
“Even after receiving Bronze, Silver and Gold Award, I still like to learn and explore. I am learning my seventh language, teaching myself how to shoot photos on a film camera, being an active member in three different non-governmental organisations and creating social projects about the accessibility of environment and youngsters in risk groups.
“When I getting ready to give a speech at the event attended by His Royal Highness Prince Edward, I read stories of other Award holders living in Latvia about how individual Award programme has stimulated them to find their passion, choose a career and created a habit to dedicate time for further self-development. I found many similarities in these testimonials, but what else could be expected if there is such positive environment where you are put into main focus, where you are encouraged to make all decisions – what, how, when, where, with whom and why to do? Therefore it is easier to find who you really are and by that to unleash your full potential.”