Vas zanimajo mednarodne priložnosti za mlade? Morda prostovoljno delo v tujini? Z vami delimo izkušnje EVS prostovoljke Liisi, ki je bila del ekipe CZM 9 mesecev, od marca do konca novembra 2018.
Za več informacij o mednarodnih priložnostih se lahko obrnete na Center za mlade Domžale, ki je regionalni partner Eurodeska. Ponujamo vam informacije s področja evropskih priložnosti za mlade (usposabljanja, študij in delo v tujini, natečaji, razpisi…), evropskih mladinskih politik (nova EU strategija za mlade, strukturirani dialog, evropski programi za mlade, razsikave o mladih…) ter virih o EU (viri in nadaljnje povezave o temah povezanih z mladimi na evropski ravni, raziskave o mladih, uporabne platforme za povezovanje na različnih področjih…). Odgovore na vprašanja, ki se vam porajajo, lahko dobite prek elektronske pošte (email@example.com), telefona (040/255-568 in 01/722-66-00) ter osebno v CZM-ju (ponedeljek do četrtek med 8. in 20. ure ter ob petkih med 8. in 14. uro).
EVS prostovoljka Liisi, je bila del ekipe CZM 9 mesecev, od marca do konca novembra 2018. V prispevku si lahko preberete njene izkušnje z EVS prostovoljstvom, vse od odločitve za odhod v tujino pa do zadnje dne in pakiranja domov.
Verjetno ste že slišali, da se je ekipi CZM v marcu pridružila EVS prostovoljka iz Estonije Liisi. Z vami bo delila svoje izkušnje, ki jih bomo objavljali na naši spletni strani. V prvem prispevku je strnila vtise po le nekaj dneh v Sloveniji. Kaj mislite, da je bil vzrok, da se je odločila za to življenjsko izkušnjo?
EVS- an experience of a lifetime
I had never really considered doing an EVS (European voluntary service), but sometimes things just fall into place. In the fall of 2017 I suddenly realized that I had been studying for 15 years straight and I felt like I needed a break, but I didn’t really have any alternative options so I just continued on with my studies, although a bit unmotivated and tired.
When I went to university in 2015 to study youth work, I started participating in some international Erasmus+ projects and from there I got some knowledge and interest in other cultures and international opportunities, such as the EVS. From these projects I also got the acquaintances, who, in the end of 2017, offered me a position as a volunteer in the Domžale youth centre. It was an offer that I, due to the right time and right conditions, couldn’t refuse. It was a truly needed break from my studies and furthermore, it was an opportunity to practice and get new experiences in the field I am studying.
So, I finished up my semester in Estonia and started preparing for a nine-month-long adventure in Slovenia. In this time between deciding to come here and arriving here, I think I experienced every possible emotion: I was excited for all the new experiences and new people, I was scared that maybe I couldn’t handle living and working in another country, I was glad that I have this wonderful opportunity and I was sad to leave all my friends and family behind. But as strangely as it sounds, it got easier and easier the closer it got to leaving. In the end I was just ready to go and to take on all the new experiences and adventures.
Since arriving here, I have slowly adapted with the new environment and everything else. I have been here for 6 days and for now it seems like a great holiday, like a good alternation for my regular life. I have met a lot of new people and slowly got to know the city and the youth centre. I am grateful to all the people who have welcomed me so generously and helped me with everything. Adapting to a new city and country is always hard – I don’t speak the language, I don’t know where things are located and I don’t know many people here. Fortunately, I have people, who support me and help me, and that makes the experience much more enjoyable.
I don’t know, what the future brings, but right now, I am really glad I took a chance on this courageous adventure and I hope I will have the courage and will to experience as many new things and get as much knowledge as possible, because although nine months seems like a long time right now, I know, that it will be over before I know it.
EVS prostovoljka Liisi je del CZM ekipe že dobrih 5 mesecev. V aprilu nas je presenetila z Estonsko večerjo, na kateri je bila miza polna tradicionalnih estonskih jedi – krompir, solata s kislo smetano in “kotleti”.
V prvem prispevku je z nami delila utrinke iz svojega življenja, ki so jo pripeljali do odločitve za EVS prostovoljstvo in svoje prve vtise ob odhodu v tujino, tokrat pa lahko spremljate njena opažanja o Sloveniji. Njen prispevek se bo prepletal z utrinki iz Estonske večerje.
Personal observations about Slovenia
Living in another country for over a month, you will start noticing things about the culture and the people: things that are similar and things that are different from your country. Similarities give you some comfort of knowing that you may be not so different from them and that you can belong somewhere. Differences, on the other hand, while being a bit hard to get used to and bizarre, can sometimes seem just funny.
For me, one of the first things that surprised me was the Slovenian way of »going for a walk«. On my first week here, I found myself fighting a losing battle with the snowy hills, while going on a casual walk. I skied on my boots, sliding down the small hills, ending up, to no one’s surprise, on my bottom. Coming from a really flat country without any mountains, I had to accept quickly, that Slovenes usually walk in only one direction: up. Being as sporty as they are, maybe they consider a walk without conquering any hills to be a waste of time or maybe they just enjoy the view or the feeling of accomplishment of arriving on the top. I have yet to discover the answer, but I must say, I have started liking it.
There are many stereotypes about different countries and nations. Popular ones in Estonia include Latvians having six toes, Russians wearing only Adidas clothes and French people eating frogs. After living here for one month, I have already discovered one funny stereotype about the Slovenes: their strong fear of heating up their potato on the next day, fearing it might be poisonous. Coming from a country known internationally for eating mostly only potato, I am not sure if I should just laugh about it or check my pulse to see, if I am still alive after 21 years of eating that severely poisonous second-day potato.
On my first weeks here I had to arrange different documents in order to legally settle in Slovenia. In this period of time I understood two things. Firstly, Slovenes seem to really love papers. I had to fill in an enormous amount of papers with information and codes about myself that I didn’t know even existed. Secondly, every Slovene seems to know each other, or at least that’s how I saw it. I am not sure if the cold weather in Estonia has also made the people colder, but formal conversations in Estonia are usually very straight to the point and emotionless, like we would all have a certain amount of words per day, that we don’t want to exceed, using as little words as possible. Therefore, I got really confused seeing the so-called “formal” conversations here. Not understanding a word of course, I saw all the warm smiles, long conversations and positive emotions and my first assumption was that they all must know each other, because they seemed to be talking about their pets, funny childhood stories or last nights’ TV programs, or at least that is how it looked from my point of view. Later I understood that that is just how people communicate here and I have come to enjoy the friendly formal conversations.
Kakšna so pričakovanja in zgodbe, ki jih slišimo o EVS prostovoljstvu in kakšna je potem realnost? Kakšni so občutki ob učenju tujega jezika, ki je popolnoma drugačen od tvojega maternega jezika? Svoje misli o EVS pričakovanjih in realnosti je delila naša EVS prostovoljka Liisi.
Having been active in the field of youth work before my EVS, I heard many stories and myths about doing EVS and living abroad in general. Because of that, I had a picture in my head of what my experience is going to look like. But reality, of course, is usually a bit different.
Firstly, I heard about a theory of adjusting to a different culture. It states that when moving to another country, you will first experience the vacation phase when everything seems interesting and fun. After that you feel the routine settling in and become less motivated. The differences between your own culture and the culture you are living in start to annoy you and make you homesick. After that comes acceptance, when you feel at home in your new culture. Since it seems fairly logical, that’s how I expected my EVS to go. Maybe it is because Estonia and Slovenia (the culture and people) don’t seem so different, that I didn’t really experience these phrases or feelings. In the beginning I experienced this short period, when I decided to say yes to everything and try to get as many good stories and great adventures as possible, but that passed quickly and after that it hasn’t been much different from living in my own country.
The second and pretty obvious thing is homesickness. I guess everybody experiences it differently and to a different extent. That was probably the main thing that I was worried about, before coming here. I didn’t imagine being so far away from my home, my friends and family for such a long time. But with all the modern technology and opportunities, I have this new-found feeling of how small Europe and even the world is. Communicating with my friends and family daily through social media platforms, Skype and phone calls, has given me a false impression as if they were living right here in a nearby village. During my EVS I have attended birthday parties via Skype, watched live streams of graduation ceremonies and even played board games with my friends through video calls. Although I always prefer face-to-face communication, the Internet gives a nice alternative that makes me a part of my life back in Estonia, even if I am not physically present.
Something that people living abroad have very varied experiences with is learning the language spoken in the country you are living in. I am sad to admit, that I am not one of those talented people, who learns the new language in just a few months. I guess I can blame the fact that Slovenian is really different from Estonian and also not the easiest language, but nevertheless it definitely isn’t an easy task, especially when you are not a child anymore. I am not used to the feeling of not being able to read or pronounce things and I seem to have forgotten how to remember all the words, rules and structures of a language. Fortunately, I have been lucky enough to do most of my tasks in English, which, as grateful as I am, still gave me the excuse not to learn Slovenian so quickly.
I think that the point to take from all of this is that theories, stories and expectations are often not transferrable to real life. No two experiences are the same and the best thing to do in order to know what is true for you, is to experience it for yourself and through that, make your own theories and stories and probably introduce them to others as rules.
Liisi je zaključila svoje EVS prostovoljstvo z 30. novembrom. Vas zanima katere izkušnje bo vzela s seboj? 🙂
Packing- what to take with me from this experience?
In the previous articles I have written a lot about the differences between Estonia and Slovenia and the things I had to get used to while living in another country. But the truth is, that now looking back at my overall experience, I feel that the differences are much smaller and less important than I imagined.
This EVS year has given me opportunities to discover more about other cultures and how to deal with differences between people and cultures. And moreover, how to deal with the discovery, that we are not that different at all. In fact, it seems almost impossible, that Slovenians are so similar to Estonians. I discovered that I could happily and successfully live in Slovenia, without having to change my manners or my behaviour at all and I would still feel comfortable in all sorts of situations. That I could still make the same kind of jokes, talk about the same subjects without standing out from the group. And the discovery that people are not so different at all, makes me think that the world is actually smaller, than I thought and that it is possible to communicate and connect with anyone.
Another thing that I discovered here was, that I needed to learn how to live alone and I am not talking about things like cooking, cleaning and using a washing machine. I have lived away from my family for four years now, so these things are not hard for me. The new part was literally living alone, without other people. Spending time alone, doing things for myself and planning my own free time, was something that I didn’t have a chance to do before, because I was always surrounded by people who influenced what, when and how I was doing. I didn’t have time to think about, what I would like to do, experience and learn. Here I established my own rythm and found time for things that otherwise I probably wouldn’t have done- I learned to play the guitar, wrote songs, discovered the surrounding area, exercised and read books and all that helped me discover things about myself.
For me, this EVS was also a perfect time to reflect on things and to look at them from afar. I got some distance from my regular life and that gave me a clearer and wider perspective. I understood what I want to accomplish and what I have to do, in order to achieve those goals. I understood what is important and what needs to be changed about my life. The experience gave me an idea of what to do with my future and hope that I have the perseverance to execute those plans and ideas.