Jete’s EVS experience in Slovenia
Jete’s EVS experience in Slovenia
During the summer I had a situation in my life where the future seemed unsure and I decided to apply for an European Voluntary Service in Slovenia. Everything went well and I was chosen! And before I knew it, it was time to pack my bags and fly to a country I had only imagined before.
During the 5 weeks in Slovenia we lived in 5 different towns. The first week in Ljubljana, the capital, was overwhelming in many aspects. I met many amazing people and it took only numbered days to form really good friendships. Ljubljana itself felt surprisingly home-like to me. Furthermore, we visited many organisations and gained so much new knowledge that ‘too much information’ soon became an inside joke between the participants.
The second week came around faster than any of us would have wanted and that meant that it was our turn to take the action and start with the presentations. Doing presentations was one of our main tasks during this project and our goal was to introduce Erasmus+ mobility possibilities to youngsters and also encourage them to be more tolerant. In my eyes I learned the most during the process of preparing it. The importance of time management soon became evident. I learned a lot about my own personal strengths and weaknesses, and how to motivate myself individually. But more importantly, how to work as a group. It wasn’t always easy to get 16 people to agree on the same idea, so I also learned quickly when to make compromises and when it’s important to push your ideas, because they could benefit everyone, even if they didn’t know it beforehand.
Doing presentations was a great fun and I enjoyed getting in contact with the young locals. It wasn’t always necessarily easy, but we improved throughout the month and by the last presentations we more-or-less knew what worked to make it great. Presentation skills are another great asset I took home with me. It was also amazing to see the other participants grow in such a short period of time. This day, I wouldn’t believe any of them if they’d say that they are shy people.
Slovenian locals let me believe that they are extremely kind and helpful community. I think they welcomed us to their society and let us experience the life as locals rather than just tourists. Although, I wish I could have experienced it even deeper level, it is hard to do so, when you move around that often and also, when you are constantly surrounded by big number of other volunteers who you try to socialize as well.
After arriving to our first hostel where I had to share a small room with 5 other girls and after seeing how many people 16 actually is, I thought that my biggest fear would be not having any personal space. As an average Estonian I take my ‘own time’ very seriously. But quite surprisingly, living together was the most enjoyable time. We cooked together, we ate together, we hung out together and we even brushed teeth together. Everything was a team activity and it taught me a lot how to be less selfish and more of a team player. I was constantly inspired by the people I worked with.
Therefore, preparing for our final event - The Museum of Tolerance - went rather smoothly. Although, we didn’t have as many visitors as we had hoped for, I felt succeeded because we all worked really hard and I was proud to be part of this amazing EVS family. These five weeks were one of the most amazing times of my life, I met so many great people and gained very valuable experiences. I’m proud I found the courage in myself to do EVS and I wouldn’t change the experience for anything.
Jete-Maria Vürmer. Volunteer (European voluntary Service in Slovenia September-October 2016) INVOLVED ngo (Sending organisation - Estonia)