Įstabioji Biljanos savanorystės istorija!
Centre for regional sustainable Development - CRSD, Macedonia
Hosting organization: A.C. Patria, Lithuania
If one year ago someone had told me that I would be living in an antique, soviet-like house with a big apple tree in backyard together with a German boy, a Croatian girl, a Spanish guy and a German girl less than fifteen minutes by bus from LaisvėsAlėjain the centre of Kaunas in Lithuania, I would have said “Get out! No way!”Yet, I am.
It all started more or less 10 months ago when a certain friend of mine who had recently returned from his EVS in Poland just couldn’t stop bragging how great his EVS experience was. It sounded great, of course, but I’ve never realized what cultural mixtures, language entanglements, brand new experiences, “disco, disco, party, party” international friends or freaking freezing weather felt like. Now I know. So, here’s my story…
I got my Bachelor’s Degree last year in July and I started working, mostly freelance translating and teaching. Anyway, little did I know that while I had been busy with my books during my studies quantity overruled quality and things have changed. I was unhappy. I needed a time off. I needed a tea break from my life. Therefore, I picked Lithuania where they have tea in abundance for my nine month break. Now, I have been drinking Lithuanian tea exactly one month and a half and I have to admit that this is the best tea I’ve ever tried. I work in Jaunimo Darbo Centras where I give Basic and Advanced English Clubs and Basic Spanish Clubs, mainly to people over 25. I also give individual consultations to high school students,some of the staff at my work place, students and teachers from different schools etc.
Now and then I make presentations about myself, EVS and my volunteering experience in general. Projects are a very important part of my volunteering, as well, where I can make my own initiative and be as creative as I can.
So far, I have made one project “Halloween Hangout” together with my teammate, which strived to raise students’ awareness about the holiday in the English speaking countries and to enrich their English vocabulary about Halloween through presentations and different interactive games. I am happy to say that it was a huge success. So, I have different tasks that fulfill my working hours, my colleagues are all nice and friendly and for the first time in my life I can proudly say that I love my job! On the other hand, I must admit that I could not ask for a better hosting organization. My HO, AC Patria, is doing their job perfectly. We all get along very well, we regularly have Volunteers Friday Evenings wherewe hang out, play games, cook dishes from different countries and share our experiences. Labaiačiū! And finally, the best part- friends.
So different with different backgrounds, cultures, languages, traditions and customs and still we hold on strong together. We hang out over delicious Lithuanian food and beers, we organize trips to different towns and countries. Basically, we have fun. And, the language? Well, I’m a linguist and I have to admit that I’ve never come across more difficult language in my life than Lithuanian, with so many cases, tongue breaking diphthongs and unbelievably huge amount of diminutive forms. Fortunately, I’m beginning to understand and who knows, maybe one day I could manage to make a decent conversation in Lithuanian without stumbling over every next word I try to utter. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
All in all, I’m having the time of my life on my Lithuanian tea break and I’ve never regretted making this choice and coming to this green, mountainless, cold Baltic country where your heart is so warm all the time. I’m really looking forward to my next seven and a half months left here!