Questo post è disponibile anche in: Italian
Europe of Possibilities
A year of European Voluntary Service in Finland
My name is Cristina, I am 27 years old and I come from Verona.
From 2016 to 2017 I had a possibility to perform National Civilian Service at Euro desk Center of Valpolicella-Valdadige and it was an amazing and eye-opening experience.
During this year of collaboration, one of my tasks was to organize the meetings in the High Schools of the county of Verona and to inform youngsters regarding the possible opportunities abroad offered by “Erasmus+” of the European Union. I stayed astonished by EVS, but still, I haven’t found the project that completely fits me in everything.
Until, in one extremely warm day in July, I saw on Youmore Morcelli Giovani Facebook page the news about one EVS project in Finland.
At the beginning first I thought it was a joke, not completely believing in that, “Yes, here in Italy it’s really hot, I could escape to Finland now”, ok, since first hesitancy, now 6 months have passed from the moment I moved to live in the country of Santa Clause.
My adventure started when I contacted Youmore Morcelli Giovani foundation, I sent them my CV and motivation letter where I explained why do I want to join the project and subsequently sustained the interview via Skype with the hosting Finland organization and sending simultaneous Italian organization.
Simple small steps to become a part of something that makes difference.
Why am I saying this? Because EVS allows you, and forces you, in a positive way, to leave your comfort zone.
I chose Finland because I wanted to have an experience in one country that is totally different from mine, in cultural, field, and environmental field and which in this way would put new challenges in front of me.
Let’s say that the obstacle of my comfort zone definitely crumbled by climate Finland conditions that are not the same as we find here in Italy during the winter.
Temperatures that are almost touching -20° C, centimeters of snow in December, the Sun peeks out around 10:00 am and then sunrises shortly before 15:00 pm in the afternoon, very large rivers which completely freeze, phenomenon that leave you perplexed, but clearly things you don’t see every day and you get used to them quickly.
One thing that in Finland leaves me speechless every single day definitely is the nature and the way Finland people show their respect towards nature.
Uncontaminated forests that are preserved in all their beauty and treated on daily basis and the thing that affected me is the real fusion of people and nature that we perceive.
To make a practical example, how many times we are complaining about Italy because of the rain?
Here, in Finland with rain, snow, and (especially with) wind, Finland people bring to completion activities that were prefixed for that day placing in an effort definitely tangential weather conditions.
This is the reason I talk about the balance between people and nature, know well their climate and their seasons and respect entirely without that it influences their state of mind, discovering equilibrium with that nature unavoidably is dictated by unpredictability.
The first impression that I had with Finland people let’s say that it was particular.
They are very calm and silent people, a bit closed in the beginning, but when you get to know them better and working together every day it is being established a relationship of trust, in fact, they are really kind and unselfish.
The title of my project is „International Youth Houses“, or: to work inside recreative structures for youngsters, recreative and play activities included, follow social media of the institution that is hosting me doing promotion of the events that are organised, to do interventions in schools to promote EVS telling them my story and experience and to cooperate in the writing part of the new projects of the Erasmus+ Programme.
My impressions after 6 months passed here are definitely positive, certainly, it was tough in beginning, but now I am sure that next 6 months will be even better than the previous ones.
I strongly advice this experience to all of those who are not afraid to take a risk, who are willing to go out from their comfort zone, who want to take a chance to test the knowledge of their English language skills, or to improve another language, who are searching for new and emotional opportunities, who want to do something, who like to travel and to meet new people, to encounter different cultures, because European Voluntary Service is all of this and a lot more.
Translated by Biljana Dajic