Tuesday, August 1, 2017

EVS goes Carinthia - EVA KOBIN - 12 months in EVS in GEMMA, Villach, Austria - Article in English!

About Me…

Hallo Ich bin Eva und Ich komme aus Estland!   
I grew up in the little cosy village in Kildu and before I moved to Austria I worked in Suure-Jaani Youth Centre as a youth worker. For the last six years I have been involved with Erasmus+ projects like Youth Exchanges and International training courses. I had experience being as volunteer in smaller projects and events, but never longer then one week.

My decision to go Austria..

In august 2015, I took part of the training course in Austria “LAB: Technology of Involvement” in Velden am Wörthersee. This was my first time to visit Austria and I felt really amazed from the nature and culture there. During this project we visited Villach Youth Centre and I found out that they are also receiving volunteers under the Erasmus+ program. After the project I kept the contacts and asked for possibility to make my one year EVS in Villach. At this point I was 29 years old and as the voluntary projects are meant for the young people age 17-30. Regarding my age, it was really “now or never” decision and to be honest, the sound of “never” it really didn´t fit to my thought’s. It was time to step out of my comfort zone, apply my project together with my sending and receiving organisation and about five months later I found myself living in the most southern corner of Austria, in the beautiful city, called Villach.

My Team and Work in Villach Youth Centre…

Duration of my project was one year and I really loved to work together in the Villach Youth Centre (JUZ) team. During my voluntary time, my team really created a supportive and friendly environment for me.

Regarding my precious experience as a youth worker and Erasmus+ projects it was really interesting to learn how things are done here. Learn more about the youth work and improve my organising skills.

My assignments in the Youth Centre were to help them on daily basis, but also to create new inputs. For example, there is a saying we use in EVS projects on and it is: “Creating your project inside of a project.” It means that as you are already part of the EVS project, you go there with a mission to bring your own initiative and create projects.

Firstly, I had always been passionate with areas witch needed many use of creativity. I looked around and saw the possibilities and on the start of the spring I created the “Urban Gardening” project in the Villach Youth Centre. It was a project with the aim to introduce the possibilities of gardening inside of the city, to create interest of green lifestyle and educate the young people of the “gardening ABC”, plant and grow their own vegetables.

Besides of my projects I started creativity workshops “DIY (do it yourself) with Eva every Wednesday and all the young people had the possibility to participate and as cooking have been my passion all life- it was always great to make cooking evening. Now I also know how to make traditional Carinthia’n Christmas cookies and nudels.

All of it was actually just a small part of my full experience. For example every year Villach Youth Centre organizes several bigger events like the sport and hobby festival “Trendsporttag”, Intercultural Street festival, youth literature festival “Lesezeichnen”.

In every event I had the chance to be part of the team, share my ideas and learning by doing. I had a really great team and it is actually always nice to experience in those projects how the people you have never met before on your life, becoming good friends of you. Even after my voluntary service in JUZ, I can feel that this is the place, I can always visit and feel like home.

During the voluntary year I also had the chance to have two German courses and I have to say, that if someone would have told me that after one year I could speak and understand German- I would never believed it. I came to Austria knowing only eins, zwei, drei…but never say never- here I am understanding and talking German quite well. J


My year in Villach was full of amazements, new experiences and positive surprises. Villach is a really nice city surrounded with wonderful nature-with mountains and beautiful lakes.  Already by location it is really centre of the Europe. One of my free day I had a breakfast in Villach (Austria), lunch in Slovenia and nice dinner in Italy.

I really find people in this city friendly and welcoming. The city itself promotes also many cultural events during all year. Villach is famous of it´s every year carnival celebration called “Fasching” and “Villacher Kirchtag” what means a week along festival with traditional clothes, good food, beer, folkmusic, dances and party. People here really do love their traditions as in every true Villacher person (young and old) has their traditional clothes what they love to wear in many events and in Kirchtag it is a must-a-wear. Shortly to say – it is a city worth of discovering! J

My life now…

After my voluntary year I decided to stay in Austria longer. I wish to continue my German lessons and start my Master degree studies at the Alpean Adria University in this autumn.

I will happily continue my work as a volunteer in the association “Gemma” and cooperating projects together with my sending organisation “Noored Ühiskonna Heaks” in Estonia. My wish is to give my contribution back to the society and help to coordinate the future projects under Erasmus+ program in Carinthia. I think there are many young people of the similar wishes, what I once had before I took the possibilities of this program. I wish to get information of possibilities of Erasmus+ as many young people as possible.

During the time I have been in Austria my organization started series on meetings for the young people called “Eramus+ Frühstück “ (“Erasmus+ Breakfast”) to promote the Erasmus+ program and the possibilities inside it, especially possibilities in European Voluntary Service. I am always there to share my experience and stories with them. And my favourite sentences to tell them and now for you is:
“This is a program for every young people and the offer is free for you- a new culture and working area, new experiences and friends, but in the same do something for the society as well. And in the end you will be proud of yourself- “back-bag ”full of experiences and memories to share even years later.

Now looking back of my voluntary year, I am proud and happy to took this possibility and if possible I would do it again- without hesitation.
I am really thankful of all the part´s who helped me during my voluntary year, especially my sending organisation in Estonia “Noored Ühiskonna heaks” , “Verein Gemma” and Villach Youth Centre. And of course Erasmus+ Youth In Action program for financing my European voluntary service project.

Thank you! Danke!

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

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