Hi, I am Alice and this is my story...
Well, my story goes way back to 2015 when I met some amazing people from Portugal. After that I knew that I want to spend at least a year in Portugal, close to the Atlantic ocean. It took less than a year for my dream to come true. Honestly I have to thank all the people around me, because this opportunity came to me, I just needed to apply.
In September 2016 I found myself in a small city called Olhão, which is almost in the middle of Algarve. I would really like to acknowledge my hosting organization MOJU - Associação
Movimento Juvenil em Olhão and my sending organization Noored Ühiskonna Heaks.
Trust me, when I say that EVS year will be one of the fastest years in your life. In my small city there was three apartments and projects of volunteers. That is why I had an opportunity to meet a lot of people. My project became my team and family, with them we tackled a lot. We all went there with an idea that we wanted to accomplish, but to be honest you never know what to prepare for.
For me it was a good challenge to modify lets say my personal project so that the kids would really benefit from it.
I had a chance to work/spend time with kids who are from challenging families and not the best neighbourhoods. Me and also other volunteers had to work on trust and respect, but eventually it started to give back. This gave me a great appreciation for trust, now I can truly say that it's a hard thing to built. This is something that I will never take easily.
The year abroad became a lot about me and this year changed me a lot. Before I left I considered myself as an open-minded person, but honestly, this came with the last year. Maybe I was open in an Estonian way, but in a bigger picture it doesn't give you anything. Now I hope I am more passion driven and I can always find a way to be myself. I also learned a lot about cultural differences, because I was the only person to introduce Northern countries. I was lucky to learn about Mediterranean culture from my flatmates, who are from France, Italy and Cyprus. Also from all the others, but with my flatmates I spent the most time.
This year gave me a lot of chances to travel and see around. Besides Portuguese people I also discovered the country itself. A year is not enough to understand everything, but it's good for a proper introduction. I am sure that one day I will find myself there, close to the ocean breeze and fresh seafood!
It's very difficult to put one year into words, but I think I said the most important – the people around me, Portugal, “my” kids, Olhão and travelling. This amazing challenging year was full of surprises and love. Beijinhos!!!
This Project was financed by European Commission's Erasmus + Programme