Monday, December 26, 2016

Be yourself, Proud for Youth Training Course - INTERVIEW WITH TURAL ABDULLA AND LIIS RANDMÄE

Name of the project: Be yourself, Proud for Youth
Date: 08.12.2016 - 15.12.2016
Country/City: Ireland, East Clare

What was the main topic of the event?

Tural: The main topic of the project was LGBT youth and youth work with them. The training covered the issues and challenges LGBT youth face in the daily life and how youth organizations can work to reduce these issues.

Liis: The training was about LGBT+ youth. We were discussing the current situation of LGBT+ people in different countries, the main issues that need to be dealt with concerning the topic and tried to find some ways to actually do so.

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

Tural: Actually, there were a lot of such moments, as we used different methods, such as ‘Theatre of Oppressed’ and ‘Genderbread’… sometimes it was too emotional as some of participants were sharing their life stories. Besides that, the training also helped me to revise project-management, as we are planning to organize training in the future.

Liis: I was really inspired by the people there and learned again that no matter how difficult the life can be (because LGBT+ people as well as any other minority can face enormous obstacles in belonging to the society) there is always hope and we should never give up on that.

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

Tural: Definitely! I made some contacts and found some partners who are interested in making a new project. With a partner from the Netherlands we plan to organize a training called ‘Out and proud: How to become allies’ focusing on the topic Gender and Sexuality Diversity, Sexual Health and Education & Advocacy for LGBT youth. Depending on time-management and planning, we are thinking to organize this training either in 2017 or 2018.

Liis: In the end of the training course we started working on our own projects so if all goes well I will hopefully help to organize one youth exchange about sexuality and relationships. The other thing I will always carry with me is to remember to be LGBT+ inclusive in each area of my life in order to create more tolerant society.

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

Tural:  Not only this training, generally I encourage all youth to get involved in such projects, because non-formal education is really a life-learning process, you learn totally new skills and methodologies, making new friends and cooperation. It broadens your ways of thinking and gives you keys for different doors. It is all about you, if you want to take this chance and use the opportunity for yourself.

Liis: I would recommend it for sure. Going to a European Union funded training course is SO easy in Estonia and can give more than ever expected. Sometimes the most random conversations with people we didn’t even know existed a few days earlier can be the ones that change our lives the most.

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

Tural: I am really thankful to Youth for Society for giving me this opportunity. It is one of my best experiences ever. I hope I will actively involve and help to make the world to be the better place for all of us. Çox sağ olun! Gələcək bizlərlə (gənclərlə) gələcək! (Translation; Thanks! The future will come with us (with youth)

Liis: I wish everyone merry Christmas and a happy new year, hope 2017 will be the best so far for all!

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

Friday, December 9, 2016

EVS: joint venture for fostering social inclusion, active participation and solidarity - VERONIKA JALLAI - 6 MONTHS EVS IN ITALY - English and Russian Article


6 warm and beautiful months, that changed me and my life!

All my life I knew I will go for some long volunteering project one day. However, since I was studying there was no time for that. Until I went to work in Tallinn…

I knew Marco, coordinator of my project, from my first experience with Erasmus. It was 5 years ago in Turkey; we had a great youth exchange with what I was really glad. So, when Marco offered me to go for a half of year to Sicily for volunteering only thing that was stopping me a little bit was my work. However, the dream that was all my life following me and confidence about my coordinator offer did not leave me any chance to refuse.

I didn’t have a lot of expectations, I only whished that there would be an opportunity for me to try myself and make something useful for society. Moreover, Sicily itself was an interesting place for a person from the cold region. In addition, it was interesting to meet very close totally new culture
Preparations for a travel were really in a hurry, but my hosting organization which name is ARCI Strauss is doing very good job. In the Palermo airport I met another participant, girl form Bulgaria, and went together to Mussomeli, our EVS town. Way to Mussomeli is complicated because of transportation problems, but ARCI Strauss director took us from some bus stop and lifted exactly to our big and cosy appeasements…

The first expression was amazing: small medieval town with narrow streets and beautiful mountain view! All the participants and ARCI Strauss workers were so new, but thanks to positive attitude and interesting activities, we got to know each other pretty fast. These people until today make me smile and feel warm inside when I think about them. All in all, during all the project I enjoyed people around me. They helped me, when I was sick or had any other problems or questions; they shared their free time with us and showed Sicily for different sides.

What about my expectations, they were fully satisfied! I felt myself as a part of the city, moreover, the active and useful part of it! We had a lot of tasks that ARCI Strauss gave us to help the local society. Also we had an opportunity to make an initiative. It was never boring and time passed really fast! Now I really hope to see everybody again and just to come back to this charming city, because it became one of my home cities.

I would also like to add, that during the in-arrival and midterm training we met with other volunteers and heard many different feedback about other EVS organizations. Because of that, I could make a conclusion, that I am very lucky with my sending and hosting organizations and I could suggest them to everybody!

6 теплых и незабываемых месяцев, которые изменили меня и мою жизнь

На протяжении всей своей сознательной жизни я горела мечтой поехать когда-нибудь в далёкую страну в качестве волонтера, чтобы познакомиться с местной культурой, познать себя и принести пользу обществу.

К сожалению, все, на что у меня хватило времени – это проект по обмену от Erasmus. Но как раз он и стал для меня ключевым моментом к своей мечте, так как на нем я познакомилась с Марко – координатором.

Когда я наконец закончила университет и приехала работать в Таллинн, Марко, узнав об этом, тут же предложил мне отправиться на 6 месяцев волонтером в Сицилию.
Подготовка к поездке у меня проходила в спешке и хаосе, я не сильно продумала, как доберусь. Однако в аэропорту Палермо мы столкнулись с участницей моего проекта из Болгарии. Она знала все гораздо лучше, так как прочитала информационный пакет, у меня же он был просто ссобо(хотя бы распечатала). Она меня узнала, оказалось, что мы едем вмести в Муссомели, наш городок. Так как транспортное сообщение очень затруднено до Муссомели, организаторы нас не напрягали и встретили на машине возле одной из остановок и довезли до огромных уютных апартаментов Муссомели...

Так как предыдущий проект был просто замечательный, а идея о волонтерстве, жившая давно в голове, не давала покоя, то моя работа отошла на второй план, и я согласилась. К тому же – Сицилия! Мне не терпелось познакомиться с ней и ее культурой как можно ближе!

Первое впечатление я не забуду никогда! Это был невероятно маленький средневековый городок на вершине горы, с которой открывается чудеснейший вид! У нас был огромный балкон с видами на горы, просторные комнаты, большая кухня и замечательные душевые с туалетами…Офис принимающей организации был прямо под нашим жильем, что было очень удобно. Кстати, они никогда не нарушали наше личное пространство, не приходили без предупреждения и вообще относились к нашему дому, как к нашему дому.

Несмотря на то, что мы все были совершенно незнакомы до проекта, мы очень быстро подружились благодаря позитивному настрою и интересным играм и заданиям, которые для нас организовывал ARCI Strauss.

Вообще, об ARCI Strauss, наше принимающей организации, я могу отозваться только с положительной стороны. Они организовывали нам интересные повседневные задачи, давали возможность проявлять инициативу. Мы действительно чувствовали себя частью города Муссомели, причем ее активной и полезной частью. Организаторы проводили с нами свободное время, знакомили с итальянской кухней и культурой в целом, возили в новые места, устраивали походы в горы с пикником и играми. Да и в рабочее время было всегда очень весело и здорово, когда они были с нами. Больше всего мне нравилось работать над созданием парка, писать статьи и делать фоторепортажи, хотя мы также провели много интересных уроков английского языка со школьниками и взрослыми.

6 месяцев это большой срок, они были очень насыщенными и рассказать в двух словах не получится! А вот пролетели они быстро! Сейчас прошел уже 1 месяц с проекта, но я все еще чувствую в себе частичку Муссомели, а также что частичка меня останется навсегда там. Я жду с нетерпеньем возможности побывать там снова и встретиться со всеми!

Вдобавок могу сказать, что этот опыт превзошел все мои ожидания! Я ничуть не жалею, очень довольна и могу порекомендовать как отправляющую, так и принимающую организацию. На всей тренингах, на которых мы встречались с другими волонтерами, я была очень рада, анализируя их отзывы, что у меня такие замечательные организаторы!

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

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Mentoring: Act for Change TC - INTERVIEW WITH MADLE TIMM

 Name of the project: Mentoring: Act for Change
Date: 24th to 30th October 2016
Country/City: Armenia, Toros

What was the main topic of the event?

The main topic of the training was the role of EVS mentors. Each day we learned about the responsibilities of mentors, main tasks etc. We had many interactive examples of different situations what can happen with the volunteer and how to solve the problems. The trainers had a lot of tips from the real life to share in order to be a better mentor.   

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

I guess that the biggest learning moments were actually connected with other participants. We had a nice bunch of people from different cultures and backrounds. Everybody shared their own experiences and it was truly interesting to hear and see how different people act and react.

Do you have any plans to continue follow up? If yes, what?

I would like to be a mentor by myself. It seems really an interesting role and there’s no better feeling than seeing that your help really matters for someone.

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

Yes I definitely recommend it. Travelling really broadens your mind and if you can connect it with a training and manage to get friends from different countries it’s like an unlimited source afterwards – you can study further from your friend’s experiences while keeping in touch. 

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

Thursday, November 24, 2016


Name of the project: Leader’s Journey
Date: 09th to 16th November 2016
Country/City: Clare, Ireland

What was the main topic of the event?

Grete Vaalma: Leadership and organisational management.

Anastasia Volkova: The main aim of this training course was to develop the competences of youth workers to engage and empower them to take up leadership positions and to equip them with tools to lead a youth organisation.

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

Grete Vaalma: We had a big load of information every day and a lot of big learning moments, but probably biggest and most effective were all the simulations and teamwork games we did.

Anastasia Volkova: The whole training experience was very useful and interesting, but the biggest challenge for me was being true to myself in analysing my own leadership skills and competences.

Do you have any plans to continue follow up? If yes, what?

Grete Vaalma: No particular plans but I’ll definitely use this new knowledge wisely and take it into action anywhere I can.

Anastasia Volkova: I am definitely going to use all this knowledge in my future youth work studying and youth work itself.

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

Grete Vaalma: I would recommend it to that kind of friends who are seriously interested in management and wanting to develop their strategic planning and leadership skills because it really does that but to those who are just slightly involved and maybe also want to know a little from the local culture, it maybe might be a little disappointment since it is very strictly informative training course about things mentioned before and it keeps its path.

Anastasia Volkova: It would surely recommend this training course to my friends, because you not just get a lot of useful information about how to be an effective leader, but you get it from amazing youth leaders who are very passionate in their job. You will also get to know a lot of good people, who can become your friends and future partners.

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

Grete Vaalma: Big big respect to the organising team who did that enormous amount of hard work to make this happen. And I’m also glad that I had the chance to meet all these other amazing participants. I had a great time :)

Anastasia Volkova: Just want to say a big fat THANK YOU, to the sending organisation especially Marco for being so helpful and to training course leaders – Sophie, Zita, Steve and Alan!

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

Monday, November 21, 2016


Name of the project:  Leadership +

Date: 3rd to 10th November 2016

Country/City: Portugal - Lisbon

What was the main topic of the event?

Egon Odras: Understanding essential key features of being a leader and organizing an epic youth exchange

Aleksandra Mihhaltševskaja: Leadership. Leader’s role. Knowledge and important skills for youth leader

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

Egon Odras: We are all different. We work all differently. We are all part of the puzzle to complete full picture.

Aleksandra Mihhaltševskaja: Thought from the project "most important not what you are doing, but how..."
I cannot choose one thing only. Because whole TC was full of important learning moments. Many good tasks where was needed work in team. This team of leaders, each have own understanding or comprehension about work team and leader role. It is very interesting how this team working...
Practical part showed how theoretically knowledge working when you start to use it.

Do you have any plans to continue follow up? If yes, what?

Egon Odras: Working as a couch on snow I will keep exploring the right balance between the dictatorship styles of teaching versus let them figure out themselves. Have to test different style of teaching to see different outcome in real life.

Aleksandra Mihhaltševskaja: At the moment no.

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

Egon Odras: Send it to Gucci Plateau (What means in skiers slang go as far as possible as fast as possible ) why ? Never say no for opportunities to learn a trick or two.

Aleksandra Mihhaltševskaja: Yes. It totally lived up my expectations. It was intense and useful training course with positive mood. It was very interesting time with different, but open-minded leaders from many countries. Good experience and valuable opportunity to find reliable partners.

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

Egon Odras: Life is too short to do things that you don't like.

Friday, November 18, 2016

A Key to Inclusive Europe - LIIS RANDMÄE - 12 MONTHS EVS IN PORTUGAL - Estonian and English Article

Minu Portugal

Mäletan, kuidas aastaid tagasi Tartus Tiigi tänaval sõbrannaga kõndides temalt esimest korda EVSi kohta kuulsin. Tol hetkel teadsin, et ühel päeval võtan julguse kokku ja lähen ka. Viis aastat hiljem, peale ülikooli lõpetamist ja aastast tööpraktikat, oli aeg käes. Lendasin Portugali, et ühes puuetega inimeste keskuses aasta aega vabatahtlikuna töötada.

Arvasin enne minekut, et Portugal on tüüpiline lõunamaa. Et inimesed hilinevad igale kohtumisele vähemalt pool tundi, vesteldes karjuvad üksteise võidu ja lõunaajal peavad pikki siestasid. Oma suureks üllatuseks  mõistsin peagi, et portugallaste olekus oli hoopis miskit väga tuttavat. Põhilised hilinejad olid tegelikult teistest riikidest tulnud vabatahtlikud ja oma temperamendilt olid portugallased kohati sama rahulikud kui eestlasedki... kui just mitte poliitikast, fadost, ajaloost või toidust rääkida.

Elasin esialgu  ühes Lissaboni neljatoalises korteris koos Itaalia tüdruku, Saksa ja Austria noormehe, Saksa tüdruku, Horvaatia tüdruku ja tema poisssõbra ning nende koeraga. Viimased kolisid esimese kuu lõpus välja; aasta jooksul lahkusid ka mõned teised ja asemele tulid vabatahtlikud Hispaaniast, Prantsusmaalt ja Poolast. Leppisime juba päris alguses kokku, et oleme justkui üks suur pere, seega lepime üksteise veidrustega. Tänu kodusele segasummasuvilale õppisin palju nii erinevate kultuuride kui ka iseenese kohta. Juba sajandat korda köögikapile ilmunud räpased nõud (meil oli isegi nõudepesumasin!) või kuu aega resti peal kuivanud riided ei tähenda hoolimatust. Vahel nõud lihtsalt on. Riided on. Ja inimesed on alati olulisemad kui asjad.

Iga tööpäeva hommikul sõitsin koos kolme korterikaaslasega pisikesse külla Sintra lähedal, et seal ühes erivajadusega inimeste keskuses abistada. Kuna töökohas rakendati gentle teaching metoodikat, mille kohaselt 80% sekkumisest põhines suhtlemisel, möödusid mu päevad peamiselt kallistades, põsemusisid jagades ja vesteldes; samal ajal nendega koos midagi meisterdades, tantsides, kokates,  kohvikutes käies või youtube’st Disney laule kuulates.

Esialgu meenutas ligi seitsmekümne minule arusaamatus keeles rääkiva peamiselt vaimse puudega täiskasvanu nägemine mulle hullumaja, aga aja jooksul sain ise selle osaks. Seal ei olnud Downi sündroome või autiste, vaid erinevad inimesed. Romantik Tomas tegi oma komplimentidega iga neiu päeva ilusaks („Su silmad säravad veel eredamalt kui päike lõunataevas!“), Monicale meeldis väga teisi abistada, Rita soovis saada moedisaineriks ja joonistas igapäevaselt oma uusi kollektsioone, Fernanda armastas köögis toimetada ja porgandeid koorida, naerupall Afonsole meeldis end tüdrukuks pidada ja salaja küüsi lakkida. Igaüks oli oma erilisuses sama tavaline nagu iga teine inimene.

Töökoht oli justkui miniühiskond ja sealsed inimesed pisikesed peeglid: kõik, mis endast välja andsin, tuli lõpuks ringiga tagasi. Kui Gonsalo mind esimestel kuudel nii kõvasti kallistas, et hing pea kinni jäi, sain näiteks aru, et mul oli probleem enesekehtestamisega. Seega ütlesin talle, et saan kallistades haiget ja eelistan põsemusisid. Nii igal hommikul, kuni ühel hetkel mõistsin, et uus enesekehtestamisoskus oli ka välismaailmas levima hakanud. Suurest tänutundest kallistasin teda kõvasti, mistõttu meie oma tsüklit jälle otsast alustasime.

Puhkepäevad kulutasin enamasti reisimiseks. Portugal on väga ilus maa! Olgugi, et väike (kaks korda suurem kui Eesti), on sealne loodus põhjast lõunasse ja saartel täiesti erinev. Lisaks imelistele vaadetele sain seljakotireisidel ka osa portugallaste piiritust külalislahkusest. Kui küsisime kaaslasega teed lähima linnani, viidi meid sinna autoga kohale ja soovitati häid ööbimiskohti. Ühel korral jättis baarmen isegi oma kliendi letti valvama, et ta saaks mulle isiklikult näidata, kus lähim pood asus. Portugallaste jaoks oli see iseenesestmõistetav ja abist keeldumist loeti ebaviisakaks, isegi kui põhjenduseks tuua fakt, et külakostile tulles oli suur oht lennukist maha jääda.

Portugali läksingi eelkõige ennast tundma õppima ja oma mugavustsooni laiendama ning seda sain seal teha lõputult. Võõras maa, võõras keel ja võõrad inimesed ümberringi on isiklikuks arenguks üks täiuslik kompott.  Jälgisin pidevalt oma tundeid ja sisemist kompassi, üritades aru saada, mis suunas see liigub ja kuhu mind juhatada tahab. Vahel olin eksinud, vahel justkui seisin paigal, vahel lausa lendasin, aga alati olin teel. Täpselt seal, kus olema pidin. Portugalis veedetud aasta on kahtlemata mu senise elu kõige intensiivsem. Armastasin, naersin kõhukrampideni, nutsin esimest korda elus ennastunustavalt ja veel avalikus kohas; nägin hingematvalt ilusat loodust ja Portugali elu pahupoolt, sõin maailma parimaid saiakesi, jäin kohvist sõltuvusse, õppisin suhtlustasandil ära uue keele ja leidsin omale mõned maailma parimad sõbrad.

Õnneks on Euroopa piisavalt väike. Até já, queridos!*

*Peatse jällenägemiseni, kallikesed!

My Portugal

I remember when I first heard about EVS while walking on the streets of Tartu with a friend. At that exact moment I knew I would do it one day. Five years later, after graduating from the university and a year full of work, the time was there. I flew to Portugal to make a year-long voluntary service in a centre for disabled people.

Before arriving I thought Portugal was just a typical southern country. That the people there were late for every meeting at least for an half of hour; that instead of talking they just screamed all at the same time and that during the lunch time they had really long siestas. To my surprise I understood quite soon it was not the case. The majority of latecomers were actually volunteers from other countries and the nature of portuguese people was often as calm as an estonian one... unless they talked about politics, fado, history or food.

I lived in a four-room flat of Lisbon together with an Italian girl, German and Austrian boys, a German girl and a Croatian girl with her boyfriend and their dog. The last ones moved out by the end of the first month and during the year some more people were replaced by the volunteers from Spain, France and Poland. Already in the beginning we agreed on being a family which also meant accepting the others with all of their quirks. Thanks to this mixture of people I learned a lot not only about different cultures but as well about myself. Often the dirty dishes in the sink that appear there over and over again (despite the fact we even had a dish washing machine) or the clothes that had dried on a reck for months didn’t necessarily mean ignorance. Sometimes dishes just are. Clothes are. And the people are always more important than all of the things.

Every morning from Monday to Friday we took the train together with my three flatmates to a small village near Sintra in order to volunteer in our hosting organization. According to gentle teaching method used there 80% of the work consisted of creating the relationships and only 20% of technique. Therefore my days at work were mainly spent by hugging, kissing and having conversations with the clients, meanwhile making handicrafts, dancing, cooking, going to the cafeterias and listening to Disney songs in youtube.

My first impression after seeing almost 70 disabled grown-ups talking in a language I understood nothing about was as if I had somehow ended up in a bedlam. Without even noticing it I was soon a part of it. There were no Down syndromes or autistic but people with different character. The romanticist Tomas made every girl’s day happy with beautiful compliments („Your eyes are shining even brighter than the sun in the sky!“), Monica was keen into helping others, Rita wanted to become a designer so draw her new collections every day, Fernanda loved to work in the kitchen and to peel the carrots, shiny happy Afonso liked to act as a girl and secretly paint his nails. Every one of them was as normal in their singularity as every other person in the world.

My place of work was just like a mini society and the people there were little mirrors: everything I gave out eventually came back at me. When Gonçalo hugged me so tight during the first months that I couldn't even breathe I realized I had a problem with assertiveness. So I told I him I preferred kisses on the cheeks instead. Repeated it every morning until one day I noticed that my new assertiveness-skill was also useful in the real world. So from great joy I hugged him tight which also meant we started our circle all over again.

Vacation days I spent mainly on travelling. Portugal is a beautiful country! Though small (two times larger than Estonia), the nature there varies from north to south and is even more different on the islands. Besides seeing the breath-taking views I could also witness the hospitality of locals. When we asked for the way to the nearest city we were just driven there and given a list of the best places to stay. Once a bartender even left his client to guard the bar so that he could take me personally to the nearest shop. For them it was a natural way of acting and a refusal was considered to be impolite. Even when the excuse was the fact that there was a great chance of missing the plane when eating together with them.

The main reason I went to Portugal after all was just to get to know myself better and to expand my comfort zone. This I could do there endlessly. A foreign country, a foreign language and foreign people around you is a perfect recipe for self growth. I was always trying to follow my feelings and that inner compass to figure out in which direction it wanted to lead me. There were times I was lost, times were I felt like standing in one place and times when I was just like flying but all of the time I was on the way. Exactly where I had to be. The year I spent in Portugal was by far the most intensive I have ever had. I loved, laughed until I got a stomach ache, cried once very loud in a public place with no strength to stop, I saw the breath-taking nature and the dark sides of Portuguese life, I ate the world’s best pastry and got addicted to coffee, learned a new language and met some of the most amazing people I have ever known.
Luckily the Europe is small enough. Até já, queridos!*

*See you soon, darlings!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


Name of the Youth Exchange: Let’s have a cup of coffee
Date: 31.10 – 06.11.2016
Country/City: Ankara / Turkey

What was the main topic of the event?

Annika Rannamets – Group Leader: The project subject was coffee. At first, though, it seemed that the subject leans more toward different countries, but the more we talked about how coffee is made in various countries, which have different types of coffees and what coffees are the most popular. We learned interesting facts about coffee, for example, it was discovered Kudas. We also visited Turkey's most important person mausoleum and museum - Atatürk. We also visited the old town of Ankara. The most memorable performance was a treasure hunt Hacettepe University campus. We had to find specific places, monuments and take pictures or videos. Since the place was a stranger, came to ask for help from students.
So we were surprised when we get there and saw – it was really about coffee. We had to find information about coffee history. And all 5 groups find the same information. So some of the groups started to sort out most interesting topics because they saw that all the group works will be the same, if they don’t do anything different. 

Joonas-Siim Kadak: First of all i have to say, that i did not expect the projects theme be coffee culture. From the questions you sent us before the project in my mind did not indicate that we are going to learn about coffee. Even though for me it was really interesting. I thought that once I get back home I have forgotten most of the things you spoke about, but it turns out that I remember most of the things. I am not really sure that I remember the dates from the coffee history correctly. These methods you guys used really worked and most of the time it was not boring, I guess that, the long video you guys showed us about Turkish coffee history was tiring but I still remember most of it.
What was the biggest learning moments on the event for you?

Annika Rannamets: I learned about Turkish sarcasm. There was one girl who was afraid of security and was not very sure if she would like to participate if there are problems as media shows us. One night before our trip American government asks their families to leave Turkey. So it was quit risk to join this project. And I could not find courage to ask this girl to join us anyway. I talked with her family and their decision is that its ok to go to project but not to Turkey because unsafety situation. I accepted it. But leader of the project didn’t accept this and I saw the text he was texting to that girl. Those text were misunderstanding, He humiliated that girl for feeling her way.
But it came out that we have had the cheaper ticket – so we couldn’t change her name and if she wouldn’t come – she would lose all the cost of ticket and it was not small money. So finally she was in our team.
Main Activities: Pictures; Coffee history; Popular coffees; Coffee in different countries; Cultural evenings; Get to know each other; Ring Games and Energizers

Joonas-Siim Kadak: I liked the idea of being in same room with people from other countries. To be honest, at first, I was a little scared about the idea, but once other countries arrived I saw that it’s not so bad. Energizers were good and fun; kissing a bottle seemed a little weird but as my grandfather used to say, A man got to do what a man got to do. Being kissed on the cheek by another man was weird for me, but I can be sure now that I’m not into men. I would like to point out the circle we had when we had to speak with each other, when we had to say what bothers us and what makes us happy. If you have 30 people in one room speaking in the same time, it is really hard to focus on what the guy/girl in front of you is saying. But on the other hand we had plenty of time to get to know each other during the week.
I loved outside activities we had, I don’t think I can describe that beauty in words that I saw when we were at Ataturk’s museum or at Hatcettepe's university. I loved that we had a change to move around and do different activities. I can’t complain about the food because it is not in my nature. For me it’s bizarre that they eat so much soup, but I’m from a different culture.

Do you have any plans to continue follow up? If yes, what?

Annika Rannamets: No. We made our own website about that project and we put all the pictures and feedback up there to encourage next group to join similar projects. There was a large interest against EVS in my group – so probably this project made us better people and more motivated in joining other projects and EVS in future.

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

Annika Rannamets: Yes. Because it the best place to try your independency and best way to integrate with other countries.

Joonas-Siim Kadak: For the conclusion I can say that, it was fun and really interesting for me. That project was greatly planned. Everyone was so helpful, and never sad. I got a lot of information about coffee and about the types of Erasmus projects. I got myself interested in EVS. I gained friends and loads of experience about life in turkey.

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

Annika Rannamets: We are very proud to present our website in this lovely week in Ankara: Groupleader (15 times!)

Monday, October 24, 2016

Grow up Through Volunteering - NOOMI KAMS - EVS IN PORTUGAL - Estonian and English Article

Minu Portugali kogemus

Okei. Eksamid tehtud, keskkool lõpetatud – mis nüüd edasi? Ülikool? Töö? Vabatahtlik teenistus? Välismaale lapsehoidjaks?
Niimoodi kõiki oma võimalikke valikuid vaadates ja viimaks ka otsustades, olingi juba lennukiga teel Portugali, et veeta seal oma järgmised 10 kuud vabatahtlikku tööd tehes. Muidugi ei olnud see nii lihtne, sest minu jaoks käis sellega kaasas ka mure igasuguste väikeste asjade pärast. Hiljem mõistsin, et see mure oli kõik asjatu.

Enne Lissaboni jõudmist ei osanud ma ette kujutadagi, kuidas kõik olema hakkab. Teadsin vaid seda, et elaksin ühes korteris koos teiste vabatahtlikega ning et töötaksin lastega. Ja nii oligi – elasin samas korteris koos teiste noortega nii Poolast, Hispaaniast, Türgist kui ka Bulgaariast. Kuna mu töö oli ühes koolis, siis arvasin, et hakkan tegelema vanemate lastega, kuid tegelikult suunati mind tööle hoopis lasteaeda, mis mulle väga meeldis. Mu tööülesandeks oli lihtsalt aidata ja toetada kasvatajaid kõiges, milles sain.

Alguses oli kindlasti raske, sest kuna ma keelt ei osanud, siis ei saanud ma ka lastega suhelda. Ja mitte ainult lastega, vaid ka teiste kasvatajatega, kuna ka nemad inglise keelt väga hästi ei osanud. Kuid õnneks on mingid väga targad inimesed leiutanud google translate, mis oli mulle need esimesed kuud Portugalis kui parima sõbra eest. Siiski, mida paremaks läks mu Portugali keele oskus, seda paremaks läksid mu suhted nii lastega kui ka teiste kasvatajatega.

Kuid kindlasti ei olnud need 10 kuud, mis ma seal veetsin, ainult töö, töö ja töö. Mul oli tegelikult väga palju vaba aega, mille ma sain veeta sõpradega, kas niisama chillides või siis Portugali avastades.

Need 10 kuud Portugalis olid tõesti imelised. Ma siiani ei suuda uskuda, kui palju muutis see väike otsus, Portugali vabatahtlikuks minna, mu elu. Kõik need inimesed, keda ma kohtusin. Kõik need imelised mälestused, mis mul sellest ajast seal on. Portugal tõesti võitis mu südame täielikult ja ma olen 100% kindel, et ma satun sinna veel tagasi. Seda aga, kui kauaks ma sinna plaanin jääda..seda veel vaatame :)

My experience in Portugal

Okay.. I've done my exams, finished highschool – now what? University? Job? Voluntary service? Au pair?
Just like that, thinking about all the options I had and finally deciding, I was already on a plane, flying to Portugal, to spend my next 10 months there, doing voluntary service.

Of course it wasn't as simple as that, since I was worrying about every little detail. Later I discovered that there was no reason to be worrying at all.

Before I arrived to Lisbon, I couldn't even imagine how it all would be. The only thing I knew, was that I will be living in the same apartment with other volunteers and I would be working with children. And that's how it was – I was living in the same apartment with youth from Poland, Spain, Turkey and also from Bulgaria. As for the job, I thought I would be working with older children, since it was a school. But actually I was assigned to work in a kindergarten. I have to say, I loved it. It was my responsibility to assist and help the teachers with everything I could.

In the beginning, it was certainly tough. Since I didn't speak the language, I couldn't talk with the children. And not only the children, but also the other teachers, since their English wasn't so good either. But thank God for the smart people who invented Google translate. The first months, Google translate was like my best friend. But as my Portuguese improved, so did my relationship with the children and other teachers.

But of course these 10 months that I spent in Portugal, wasn't only about work. I'm surprised how much free time I actually had. Free time, that I could spend with my friends, either just chilling or discovering Portugal.

These 10 months in Portugal were really amazing. I still can't believe that such a small decision, to do volunteer work in Portugal, changed my life so much. All those people I met. All those memories I now have. Portugal won my heart completely and I'm 100% sure that I will one day return. But for how long... that we'll see ;)

Editor note. This project was funded under Erasmus + programme of European Commission.