My European Voluntary Service, by Luis Alonso
Luis Alonso, 22 , is an EVS volunteer in Tallinn since March 2008. He is working in a project called "UPDATE", and hosted by the NGO "Youth Union SiiN", during the whole year. As him, tens and tens of volunteers choose Estonia to develop their projects. Here we have a little interview with him some days after his arrival.
Why did you decide to be European Volunteer?
Well, I wanted to do this year some kind of long project as a volunteer. I participated in 3 international workcamps during the lasts years and there were a great and enjoyable experience for me, but I wanted to join in a biggest and longer project, and when I heard something about EVS, I took all the enough information about it, read everything, and I realized that it is an opportunity that you can do only one time in your life, so I think that at my age and in this stage of my life now was the best moment to get involved in a project like this.
I did all the arrangements with my sending organization, and when they asked me about the projects and the countries, I answered that it would be better if I do one project far from my home, so when I saw “Tallinn” , I didn´t hesitate in trying to take this one.
Actually, the most important thing is the project, all of them are interesting, but its has to motivate you a lot, so if the project is very good for you, and you like the place where you do that, the answer is excellent, and your motivation is total. Working in an international atmosphere and multiculturalism are things which I love, and I can feel them and enjoy in this project I have been chosen.
Why this project?
My project is related with media, youth information, and multicultural dialogue. For the beginning we are going to develop a portal (UPDATE project) about youth information , doing also by youngsters, and there they will develop different topics related with youth mobility, the opportunities of going abroad and develop different kind of projects thanks to “Youth In Action Programme”, and so on.
On the other hand , I´m going to organize activities to our youngsters, and I have total freedom to propose new things to do ( It would be interesting something like short films, creative and artisitic expression, cuissine, and so on..) That is another positive point of my project, total freedom to do new things, or things that I could consider interesting, as well as my bosses and the youngsters, obviously.
Other part which is very interesting of my project is the area related with the Intercultual Dialogue. Our organization works very actively in the EU Programme “All different, all equal”, with the participation of youngsters in different seminars related with this topic and organizing them aswell. We want that young people have clearly the meaning that every person is the same as the other without distinctions for any reason; everybody has the same rights, because we are just the same. We are people.
Why Tallinn, why one year?
In my opinion, you know better a place when you are there, living, get into the daily life, knowing people… you can taste the atmosphere much better than if you go only as a tourist during some days. And also you know more about the situation, way of live, of the society in this city, town, country, and so on. You understand much better different situations which couldn´t you know if you are not at the exact place where happens.
One year is the maximum time you can be in an EVS project, and I chose it because we, as a volunteer, have only one chance to do a project like these, so I want to get involved and enjoy it as much time as I can. I read before previous experiences of EVS volunteers in intenet, and really the majority who had 6 months projects finished so happy, but after that time they wanted have chosen a largest project because they were enjoying it so much when it stopped! So I didn´t have any doubt in order to select one year long term project.
What are your feelings here these first days?
About my feelings here in the first days… they are very good.
I arrived to Tallinn, 5 days after it I went to Portugal 8 days in an international youth exchange, and I am again in Tallinn, so sometimes I don´t know where I am, how old I am, or what my name is!!
But by now my adaptation is going well, I´m knowing the city, which is so beautiful!! I´ll discover everything better with the time, and I have taken notes and information about a lot of places and things before my arrival and I want to visit and see here.
Weather is not as cold as I was waiting for… but we are having a strange winter everywhere. Anyway, in one year I will have the opportunity to know better the real Tallinn´s winter, he he.
Furthermore, the city where I am from is colder than the southern cities, so I can adapt myself better, hehe. Even more… I like snow, hehe! And here we have had snow, now sun…. everything is enjoyable!
What about your future expectations?
It´s soon to make a big summarize of my work these first days, I´m just landing! He he. But my expectations are very good, I have met the youngsters I am going to work with, and they are nice, open minded, laborious and funny people! I´m not feeling alone these first days thanks to them and l think we have a very good team work.
People I´m knowing here have a lot of initiative, and they want also make me feel like at home, so it´s grateful! I´m begining to know some volunteers with other projects in the city too, really kind and open minded people, and I will know more in the near future, so think this multicultural and international atmosphere will be possible this year in Tallinn thanks to all I said before. We will know a lot of things about each other cultures, and in my opinion, mixture of all the cultures make to get rich a person more than any money.
Besides, I´m going to learn a lot of new things about media and communications, with the help of the organization and a volunteer who is a professional journalist and will do the project with us. I think that I will contribute to let to our youngsters know new interesting things, but I am sure that they will do the same with me, I will learn a lot of things from them. It will be a big multicultural exchange, which is good for everyone!
Do you miss somebody or something?
Maybe you can miss your friends or family at the beginning, but on the other hand this is an experience which I´ll always remind, an important stage of my life. One year is one year, and I´m beginning to make new friends here and meeting with very interesting people, so I am sure that within one year I will not want leave Tallinn, and I´ll miss all these friends I will make here. But it´s better not to think in the end, I have just arrived!!
What will be different after your EVS experience?
In my opinion, it will be a personal and professional development for me, an important stage of my life. About other volunteer´s experiences, I know that some fears or doubts about what they would be able to do before the EVS disappeared after doing that. They are now ready to do more things in every different aspect. This year of volunteering will be also to get know better myself. When I will return to my country, I will see some things different than before the EVS project, and I will can do or prepare things that I couldn´t do if I were not in a project like this.
algum tempo antes de partir o Luis encontrou este blog na net. Leu o meu relatório final, trocou mails comigo. Eu fui para ele a ajuda que eu tanto quis ter antes de aterrar na Estónia. Temos falado muito, trocado impressões sobre o boss, os miúdos, o projecto, os outros voluntários, o facto de se ser voluntário, etc. Tenho muitas saudades, muitas, muitas... Hoje dói-me o coraçãozinho com saudades dos meus amigos que fiz lá. Como, muitas vezes, me doeu o coração lá com saudades dos amiguinhos de cá! Por falar nisso, em Maio vou viajar. Vou de novo ver (pelo menos) um amigo que fiz na Estónia. Sim, esse mesmo, o Kêlig. O mesmo que já fui visitar à Suiça, um dos que veio cá à Festa do Avante! É complicado ter os amiguinhos a viver longe, pelo menos, enquanto a internet não permite cheiros e toques!
beisicos e anté manhana