Murter - the place where our life became a wonderful adventure
Ewelina Bilinska (27), Poland
Hi! I am Ewelina Bilinska. I am Polish and together with Sonia Vazquez from Spain we are taking an active part as volunteers in the European Voluntary Service project “Sea is Life 4” released by Argonauta`s Island Sustainability Education Centre on Island Murter.
In 2012 I graduated with a degree in Building Material Technology from AGH University of Science and Technology. But rather than work in a laboratory, I prefer to travel and explore new cultures and countries. That is why I have mostly lived and worked overseas, in both England and Spain.
From Turkey to Croatia
I had had enough of the big city lifestyle and realized that there must be something more to life than the crazy cycle of working, money and complaints. This prompted my to make a decision to change my surroundings. I had an idea to become part of a community/environmental project and work as a volunteer. Every action has a reaction which is reflected in real life. I went to a small Turkish village called Kazanlı, where I spent 2 months in a European Voluntary Service project. Together with 8 others volunteers from all over the Europe, we worked to create awareness about environmental protection issue and recycling among the youth and children there. This volunteer experience with 3rd Eye Associates strengthen my belief that EVS is the right direction for me.
By following my beliefs and interest I have arrived at Argonauta Education Centre on the island of Murter in Croatia. My first impression of Murter is that it is an incredibly beautiful place. And Argonauta, I was impression with the professionalism of the organisation, its friendly atmosphere and the amazing people, who from the beginning made us feel like significant members of Argonauta´s team.
Island winter season
Although the winter season can be a little bit boring, we keep ourselves busy. It is a perfect time for us to adapt to living and working in a small village, and to get know the inhabitants of Murter. We have been given a great opportunity to meet the local people by giving informal Spanish classes to the children. It is a very challenging task because aside from having to make the Spanish language as interesting as possible for children, we also have to overcome a linguistic barrier.
Hopefully we will be able to communicate in Croatian soon. Thanks to our great teacher, who is making the greatest effort to make the Croatian language understandable. Hopefully we will be able to communicate in Croatian in the near future.
I hope I will keep my positive attitude, commitment, motivation, excitement and feeling that Murter is the place where I belong and where I can became a part of the local community.
Sonia Vazques Marques (25), Spain
All about me
My name is Sonia. I was born in October 1989 in a small village in the northwest of Spain. I have had an interest in nature since I was young, so I decided to study Technical Engineering in Topography because it would keep me in touch with nature. I enjoy travelling around the world, music and sports.
I have embarked on this adventure because I felt that EVS is the best way for me to mature, to improve my language and inter-personal skills, to meet new people and experience new cultures and to help the community.
Although I was working before joining the EVS project, I felt like something was missing, so I decided to change my lifestyle for one year and work on this wonderful project.
Summary of my first month in Murter: The big adventure
I initially thought it would be difficult to adapt to living in a country which I had never been to and spend a year there. I thought that a lot of things would be different or hard, a different culture, different food, different language, etc.
When I arrived in Croatia the reality was different. I felt comfortable and happy. Aside from being involved in an incredible project, the people from Argonauta always try to make us feel comfortable. They look for things for us to do in our free time in such small town. However, I do not mind living in a small town, it is as I expected and the sort of experience I wanted.
Ewelina is my colleague on the project. We have different personalities but we have the same hobbies, so we immediately hit it off. It is very easy to live with her and we make a good team. In addition, we are always doing something or exploring the island, so we don’t have time to get bored.
For the time being we are focusing on the Spanish lessons. I had never worked with so many children or taught Spanish lessons before. I feel good working with the children and I am learning a lot from them - it is an enriching experience.
Plans for upcoming project activities
In the coming months I hope to develop a personal project. As part of the project I would like to create a map of part of the island. This project would make me very happy because it is related to my career and I would feel very useful. I'm also looking forward to summer activities, to commence local activity actions and to do creative activities with children.
Finally, I hope to improve my Croatian and English language and to become part of the local community. I think that this experience will make me grow as a person.
Looking forward to...
This coming year will certainly be intense and full of challenges with Sonia and Ewa. It will be filled with promotional campaigns, events about the necessity of environmental protection and sustainable development, educational and creative workshops for children, youth exchanges and local voluntary actions. Moreover, the girls will assist Argonauta`s staff with administration work and the daily operations of the ISE Centre. Keep updated by following their blog at: http://murtermarvel.tumblr.com/
Feel free to send an application for the next round of the EVS project run by Argonauta to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the project
The main themes of the EVS project “Sea is Life 4” are education, focusing on nature and the environment, active citizenship and youth creativity.
The objective of the project is to continue to raise awareness in the local community and the wider public about the importance of sustainable development and unused local community resources. It also aims to educate people about the ISE Centre with help of European Voluntary Service. The project commences at the beginning of January each year and runs for 12 months.