by Barbara Jazbec, degree student in Media
My EVS destination – Kokkola by the winter sea
EVS stads for Europen Voluntary Service, is an international volunteer programme funded by the European Commission. It enables all young people legally resident in Europe, aged between 18 and 30 years, to carry out an international volunteer service in an organisation or in a public body in Europe, Africa, Asia or South America for a period ranging from 2 to 12 months. EVS is a very good opportunity to experience living abroad, meet new people, become more independent, practice your English and learn a new language. They provide the reimbursement of travel expenses and complete coverage of the costs of food and accommodation for the international volunteer. European Voluntary Service is practically FREE OF CHARGE! It is a good opportunity if you are lost, if you do not know what to do next… It can help you to ”find yourself”.
My EVS project was in Kokkola, Finland. Kokkola is a town located in the west coast of Finland. My EVS journey started on the 13th of November 2013. My project was 10 months long.
My work was to help in the youth center Villa Elba and in a local Finnish kindergarten. I was 2 days in a week in the kindergarten and two days in Elba. In the youth center mainly my work was in the international office where they plan all different international events and EVS projects. There I sometimes helped also to do outside work, for example cutting grass, taking the leaves away and so on.
The other two days when I was in the kindergarten, I was helping the teachers to take care of the children. I was working in a group where the children where form one to three years old. There with my Finnish language skill I was basically fitting in the group of one year old. Teachers were singing songs about colors; ”se on vihreä, se on vihreä” that they and me could learn colors. Then they were also teaching them numbers “yksi, kaksi , kolme…” Children in that age know only one language so they could not understand that I do not speak the same language. They were talking to me in Finnish: “Lisää vauhtia, Barbara!” when I was swinging them outside. Through that I learned the most of my Finnish at that time when I knew just “Kiitos” and why was that because I was forced to speak only Finnish with the kids so trough that was the most fun and easy way to learn the new language.
This was my short story about coming to a new country and how to learn Finnish by playing.
How to apply for EVS; contact your local youth center for more info!