Sunday, November 12, 2017

Lord of Volunteers Training Course - INTERVIEW WITH GRETE, ALJONA AND EILIKA

Name of the project: Lord of volunteers
Date: 14th to 20th October 2017
Country/City: Czech Republic

What was the main topic of the event?

Grete Liis Kuurme - The main topic was the work in organizations as a volunteer, why and how you should do it, how to motivate yourself and others on this topic, share the knowledge with others in your home country or organization, how to be a good mentor, how to approach people on that subject, also showing that volunteer work can benefit you and others a lot in a fun and interesting way.

Aljona Vassiljeva - Volunteering. The reasons and purposes of volunteering, different types of volunteers, their tasks and motivation in NGO.

Eilika Trummar - Volunteer management

What was the biggest learning moments on the event for you?

Grete Liis Kuurme - I developed my social skills a lot, coming out of my comfort zone, also my language skills. Speaking in another language all the time and sometimes trying to explain yourself when maybe the other person doesn’t understand is also a good lesson on the language area. I also learned a lot about volunteer work, that its just not helping out your neighbor or friends but so much more. You can really change someones life or perspective by doing something simple. My developed as a person and got a lot of motivation for the future to continue volunteer work and join an organization.
Aljona Vassiljeva - Work on the meadow and workshop about collecting letters. Both times there were people who knew the back story, background, reasons why it all had to be done and people with a serious lack of information. It was a really good model of practically every big organization, where boss(es) don`t feel obligated to share information with other workers, and workers don`t understand why they`re supposed to do some tasks, which leads to conflicts and lost motivation.
Eilika Trummar - I’m very honest if saying that this was the TC I literally didn’t learn anything new.

Do you have any plans to continue active in the field? If yes, what?

Grete Liis Kuurme - Yes, I would love to help people with mental illnesses, also children and animals. In the beginning I would like to participate as a volunteer in an event for whatever the subject is and see, where I could develop myself. I am more interested in people and animals rather than politics and environment eventhough they are equally important.
Aljona Vassiljeva - I plan to continue as a volunteers` mentor in my organization.
Eilika Trummar - Yes, I work as a volunteer manager and continue my work.

Would you recommend it to your friends? I yes, why? If not, why not?

Grete Liis Kuurme - Yes, I would recommend this to my friends. It’s a good way to meet new people to hire into your organization, or just make new friends and learn about other countries and their problems and volunteer work. Also, you can step out of your comfort zone and see the wider world, learn new languages and culture, maybe learn something new about yourself too. If the person is interested in volunteer work, it’s a good project to learn about volunteer work from people who are working on this field.
Aljona Vassiljeva - Yes, because it was pretty fresh view on the subject, sometimes from unexpected angles and the most important point is that we learned the biggest part through some exciting and creative activities and not through the series of boring lectures.
Eilika Trummar - I would recommend training courses and seminars generally for everyone. It’s a very good way to learn and make connections. Just this particular TC was not enough for me this time.

More comments or anything else you would like to share? You can add here in your own language, if you want!

Aljona Vassiljeva - The leaders were great and atmosphere was amazing.

This Project was financed by European Commission's Erasmus + Programme

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Young Entrepreneur - Create Your Opportunity in The Countryside Youth Exchange - INTERVIEW WITH DOROTHY, KIUR, LINDA, LISETTE, AKSEL, KIRKE AND MARKO

 Name of the project: Young Entrepreneur - Create Your Opportunity in The Countryside
Date: 8th -16th  October 2017
Country/City: Slovenia, Rakičan

What was the main topic of the event?

Kiur: The main topic was entrepreneurship and developing the mindset of an entrepreneur along with basic information that a fledgling entrepreneur needs.

Linda: The main topic was entrepreneurship. The main objective was to encourage young people to find out their own business opportunities in rural environment and give them basic knowledge about entrepreneurship.

What was the biggest learning moments on the event for you?

Kiur: My moments were when we had to discuss our personal experiences in giving gifts and then finding a problem in it. Then we had to make a business idea out of it and I was surprised how many bright ideas can come from something so small. Another moment was when we were divided into groups and had to make a business pitch to an actual businessman. It was scary, but it taught us to see things from the perspective of a potential investor.

Dorothy: My biggest learning moment was building up my own business idea with my group. It was a very inspiring process on it’s own, but the reality sank in when we had to present our idea to a local entrepreneur. He was critical of the feasibility of our idea, to say the least. The whole ordeal taught me a lot about the business world, and I learnt not to be so attached to my product that I take constructive criticism on it as a personal offence.

Do you have any plans to continue active in the field? If yes, what?

Lisette: The project was very interesting and I hope that one day I can truly call myself an entrepreneur. For now, I am waiting on my big idea though!

Marko: I’m definitely thinking about starting my own business in the future and I feel as though the project gave me valuable tools and ideas to build on. So if I’m ever raking in millions, I’ll know which project to thank.

Would you recommend it to your friends? I yes, why? If not, why not?

Aksel: Already did, because I learned a lot about entrepreneurship, which was the theme of the project therefore I consider it successful if I obtained new information and knowledge about it, the other participants are awesome, not only is it a good practice in english, but all the stories, culture and views from people who were foreigners in my point of view – it was indescribably amazing of an experience.

Kirke: I definitely recommend it to my friends because besides learning a lot and getting to see things from a different perspective, I got to meet incredible people who were all able to leave a lasting impression on me. I will never forget the people and the project.

More comments or anything else you would like to share?

Linda: It was very enjoyable project, the best company and fun activities!

Marko: Once Erasmus, always Erasmus!

This Project was financed by European Commission's Erasmus + Programme

Monday, November 6, 2017

MOJU U(th)niversity - Transformers Training Course - INTERVIEW WITH ALICE AHO AND ELINA RAUDSEPP

Name of the project: MOJU U(th)niversity - Transformers
Date: 16th to 21st October 2017
Country/City: Portugal, Faro

What was the main topic of the event?

Alice Aho - The main topic of this training course was intercultural conflicts. We opened the topic with how to understand which type of conflicts we are dealing and afterwards played out different type of solutions.

Elina Raudsepp - The main topic was to get to know on what grounds conflicts are appearing, to detect conflicts in different cultures and to get to know different ways of solving them.

What was the biggest learning moments on the event for you?

Alice Aho - I was very interested to see how people from different EU countries understand conflicts and how relevant they think these topics are. I learned the most from an activity where people introduced conflicts/problems that are important for them and their country right now. After that we were working in different groups on one specific topic that was important for us.

Elina Raudsepp - The biggest “ahhaa” moment in practice was that we don´t actually understand other cultural backgrounds if we haven´t been in them. So if you want to get to know some different cultures and people in them you have to go really deep and you have to leave all your prejudice.

Do you have any plans to continue active in the field? If yes, what?

Alice Aho - Right now I’m not directly involved in youth field, but since I have some friends who are I can share my knowledge. Besides, this topic about conflicts is important in any field. I would even take this as a general knowledge; we all need to know how to deal with conflicts and problems.

Elina Raudsepp - The topic was so wide that the knowledge of training course you can use in everyday life. Conflicts are part of human nature, so all the information was very useful.

Would you recommend it to your friends? I yes, why? If not, why not?

Alice Aho - Yes, for sure I would recommend applying to training courses to my friends. With travelling to different countries and meeting other EU nationalities is very interesting. But, I recommend to choose a topic that is interesting and relevant for you, because then you enjoy these training courses even more.

Elina Raudsepp - I would definitely recommend this kind of projects to my friends. You can learn a lot even only by communicating with people from different countries. And if the topic is interesting, and it really was, then the benefit is lots of times bigger. And for me personally the way of non-formal learning is the best option.

More comments or anything else you would like to share? You can add here in your own language, if you want!

Alice Aho - If you ever see any training courses shared, apply, you don’t have anything to lose. This is a win/win situation.

Elina Raudsepp - First time on mainland of Portugal was wonderful. Time flows differently in this country!

This Project was financed by European Commission's Erasmus + Programme

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Waves of Migration Training Course - INTERVIEW WITH YASIN AND DAJANA

Name of the project: Wave of Migration

Date: 17th to 24th October 2017
Country/City: Seinäjoki/ Finland

What was the main topic of the event?

Yasin Lossini - Waves of Migration
Dajana Vukajlovic - The main topic of the project was migration.  We had a great opportunity to learn a lot about this topic.  Not only did we learn about influences of the big refugee crisis that has broke in Europe in 2014, but the general idea of migration.  We learned other important concepts such Emigration, Immigration, Immigrant, refugee, asylum seeker, Geneva convention, Frontex and many other important concepts that relate to the migration topic.

What was the biggest learning moments on the event for you?

Yasin Lossini - The final day where we needed to combine everything we have learned during the week. Develop a game related to Migration in a positive way and shared it with youngsters in the local school in Seinäjoki.
Dajana Vukajlovic - My biggest learning moments were when we had to do a presentation about certain concepts such as Schengen, Frontex, Geneva convention and etc.  I was happy to learn more and also present it from my point of view.  I also had the opportunity to learn a lot from others. Almost all concepts were new to me and I had a great opportunity to grasp them. 
Another big learning moment was the stimulation, when participants including me, had to sit in the room.  We had to remain the silent, we had to fill in asylum application forms which were presented in totally different languages.  We were also interviewed by immigration service that spoke Portuguese, so nobody could understand.  That was one of the best stimulations, where participants could step inside the shoe of a refugee.  Refugees come to a country where nothing is explained to them, nor is their language spoken there.  Authorities do not have any patience for newcomers and they are not willing to help them.  I was happy we had an opportunity to step in their shoes and see that the way of a refugee is extremely difficult.  
Besides, I was glad that all participants had task to create a game and present it in the middle school for students from Finland.  That was another big moment, where both Finish high school student, and we ourselves, learned a lot from each other.

Do you have any plans to continue active in the field? If yes, what?

Yasin Lossini - Yes, I'm working in the Creative industry so I trying to figure out a way to continue this topic of migration and keep spreading awareness on it's challenges and opportunities among the youth and also the adults, So we as a society we can move towards an inclusive society. And also I will continue to keep an eye for future projects related to this topic and try to be part of it.
Dajana Vukajlovic - Yes, I would like to eventually try the game that participants created, in Estonia and the Netherlands.  I am a person who changes its place of living often, and I am involved in the volunteer work ever since I was in high school.  Therefore, I would like to do a comparison between a couple of countries.  One of the countries where I would like to introduce this game is, in one of the high schools in the Netherlands.  The Netherlands is a very culturally and immigration diverse place, for many years.  It would be nice to see how high school kids think of migration there. 
In Tartu, where I live, I could also do the same game in a high school   My plan is to join a youth club and purpose this initiative and see if it would work out.  
I would like to compare the reaction of high school student in Tartu, Estonia and the Netherlands.  Estonia is less culturally diverse than the Netherlands.  And therefore, it would be nice to see differences and it would be nice for high school student to gain an opportunity to learn more in a fun and informal way.

Would you recommend it to your friends? I yes, why? If not, why not?

Yasin Lossini - I would recommend this to friends because I feel it's an important topic for everybody to know what migration is and what are the challenges and opportunities it brings. The more the society is aware and have a deeper knowledge the more we can erase issues like Racism and Xenophobia in our societies.
Dajana Vukajlovic - Yes, I would recommend this training course.  I would recommend any opportunity that Erasmus plus program offers.  It is one of the most unique programs where young people meet, exchange and discuss about issues that we face in our changing and diverse world. 

More comments or anything else you would like to share? You can add here in your own language, if you want!

Dajana Vukajlovic - This project was an extremely great opportunity for me, I had an opportunity to learn a lot about topic migration and also exchange different standpoints with different young people from all over Europe.  The organizers, the trainers and the participants made a great effort to make this project a valuable experience for each of us.

This Project was financed by European Commission's Erasmus + Programme

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Friday, October 20, 2017

Let´s be volunteers! - KAISA TOOMLA - 12 months EVS in Lisbon, Portugal - Article in English

Why EVS? Why Portugal? Because why not, right?

Hi, My name is Kaisa and I did my European Voluntary Service in PORTUGAL. It sure was an amazing 12-months, which I will never forget.

October 2016 was when I arrived in Portugal to start my one-year volunteering with a foster home with kids who had been taken from their families due to specific conditions. I had no experience with kids like this, I had no knowledge of Portugal’s culture nor its language. I had no expectations for this year, all I wanted was to enjoy myself and learn a thing or two about Portugal and foster kids.

Work life

Working with kids is never easy. Kids have different behavioural ways and personalities, especially kids whose past isn’t as easy as theirs. Since I didn’t speak the language, I couldn’t communicate with them as much as I wanted. The first two weeks I remember just sitting on the sofa and watching the tv. Those two weeks I was in a house with only teenage boys, later my house moved together with another house. That meant more kids, but also another volunteer. Lucky me, she spoke a little Portuguese.

My assignments in the house were mainly to help the educators. That means I helped the kids with their homework, I took the kids to their practices or doctor’s appointments, I went to the supermarket with the kids when they want to spend their allowance on chips and candy. I was like a bigger sister watching over them and making sure they are okay. Since majority of the kids were in ages 13-14 then mostly they spent their free time hooked on technology. However, I was always there for them whenever they needed attention or simply hugs.

Social life

Portuguese people are known to be welcoming and warm towards strangers. I think there must be something in that ocean water and constant sunlight. I lived in Lisbon, which is the capital of Portugal. A beautiful city with even more beautiful and interesting people. One thing, which I really enjoyed about Lisbon, was that you never quite knew what was hidden just around the corner. It was like magic.

My coordinating organization signed me into an apartment quite close to the city centre. It was six of us in a tiny apartment, two sharing one room. In the beginning I wasn’t quite sure how this would work and to tell you the truth I was a little worried. In the end everything worked out amazingly and my flatmates were a big support for me throughout my project.

Besides volunteering at the foster home, I decided to get into the local activities – festivals. I have been part of festivals in Tallinn and so I wanted to try that opportunity in Lisbon as well. I got to be part of two amazing film festivals – MONSTA and IndieLisboa – where the crew was so welcoming and helped me with anything I needed, for example translation. I think I was the only one who spoke only English, but that didn’t stop me from helping the crew or enjoying the time spent at the festivals.

The country

WOW! That would my first thought of Portugal. The country is stunning and there are beautiful places in the nature to go and check out. Of course, surfing is a BIG thing there, so when you do go – check out the waves! Every time I managed to take a trip outside of Lisbon, I was in complete “aww” about the sights. They take your breath away, figuratively speaking and physically due to the winds if you go to the coast.

I enjoyed my time in Portugal so much that I wish to go back. It’s an amazing country with some great vibes. The place makes you feel good. When you’re feeling down for some reason, all you must do in Lisbon is to step outside and go for a walk. You never know what can happen! 

This Project was financed by European Commission's Erasmus + Programme

Sunday, October 15, 2017

EVS Mentoring and Intercultural Dialogue Training Course - INTERVIEW WITH MAIK

Name of the project: EVS MID
Date: 5.10.2017 – 11.10.2017
Country/City: Spain, Malaga

What was the main topic of the event?

Maik Mases: The topic of the training course was the European Voluntary Service and more specifically, every practical aspect that must be considered when hosting / coordinating / sending a volunteer.

What was the biggest learning moments on the event for you?

Maik Mases: The biggest learning moment was definitely learning from others’ experiences regarding EVS. In addition to the trainers, we had many participants who had been involved in EVS projects for quite some time, so it was very useful and interesting to hear different stories about conflicts, accommodation conditions, activities and initiatives created by the volunteers in the hosting organization etc. It was also nice to meet current EVS volunteers in Spain and see how they felt about their ongoing experience as a volunteer.

Do you have any plans to continue active in the field? If yes, what?

Maik Mases: I will start hosting an EVS volunteer in my organsiation starting next January and I will be the tutor. I’m really looking forward to this challenge which I hope adds some excitement and different perspectives to our everyday work.

Would you recommend it to your friends? I yes, why? If not, why not?

Maik Mases: I’d recommend the Erasmus Plus youth mobility projects to all young people because the for me personally, I think they enable you to engage in intercultural learning which is always eye-opening and fun as well. It’s something I wish I could do even more in my everyday life.

More comments or anything else you would like to share? You can add here in your own language, if you want!

Maik Mases: Learning by doing and having fun, that’s something we all should experience!

This Project was financed by European Commission's Erasmus + Programme