Sitting here, in the office, only two days apart from the end of my voluntary service, I feel confused, like a soldier after a war. My services are no longer needed here.
My EVS life is over, need to pack my belongings and leave out there in the world. I have to face the reality again. Only if I know what is a reality, this has been my life.
People say EVS is lifechanging, I think it is changing your perception of life.
This experience has taught me that if I dedicate enough time and energy in something I can do anything and yet I don’t know what to do next.
I wanna continue without a plan, just to let the wind to carry me but I am scared if I will come across a storm unprepared.
I know, it is scary and challenging at the same time.
I have always been an optimist but in this blog post, I will be a realist.
I have been so long on the road that I don’t know where home is anymore.
EVS has taught me about the possibilities, about the choices, about my qualities, my strength and weakness, how much I am capable of, EVS thought me not how to dream, but how to plan the steps from dream to reality.
And again, EVS is not a life-changing experience it is part of life, a big and important one.
One thing that I did during my voluntary service and I am really proud of is a series of psychological workshops for young people in Zagreb. Me and two other volunteers, Anna and Marina that are studying psychology, we started from the idea that we can practice our theoretical knowledge experiencing something new for our self and giving knowledge to the local community. It was a win – win situation.
The series of psychology workshops named ”Meeting with yourself” were divided into two parts. Six of them happened before Christmas and they lasted for three hours each and one longer weekend workshop lasting for six hours letting the participants have more time to feel safe, to get to trust each other so they can open up and get into longer discussions.
The main goal of the workshops was thru different activities to turn your attention from the outside world to yourself, to give yourself time to get to know yourself better, to understand why are you acting in certain way in some situations and to improve your communication skills, to practise assertive speaking, to see and solve some of your deeper inner conflicts.
The target group of this project were the young people living in Zagreb, no matter if they are local or not. So at the end we had mixture of half Croatians and half EVS volunteers, which was good opportunity that we used to expand foreigners social circle including local youngsters and Croatian youngsters used this meetings to gather more information on what is Erasmus+ and how they can use the opportunities. On every workshop attended six to eight people so in total we involved more than 30 youngsters.
The topics were different including stereotypes and judging ; self-confidence and self-esteem; roles that we play in real life; human relations based on trust, giving and receiving; end of the year workshop including wrapping up all that happened during the year, situations or emotions we want to leave behind and release from something that is still keeping us from continuing free; relationships, conflict resolution and communication. In all of them were used all kind of non-formal educational methods as role play, silent discussion, methods for assertive communication, psychodrama psychotherapy and Gestalt therapy.
It was all new and challenging experience to me, it gave me a chance to practice the role of psychotherapist, to notice my strong and weak sides and to practice patience and project management having long meetings with the girls on what to do and how to do it better than the previous one.
It seems like a lot of time has passed by without me noticing it, it seems like I never had time or need to stop and look back, did I spend all of this months looking just in the future?
Now I am standing here, exactly two weeks away from the ending of my volunteering project and I am wondering how did I get here.
Only now I am realising that this wasn’t just a volunteering project, this wasn’t just a joke or a way to avoid real life for a while, this has been my real life.
I passed Christmas here, Easter here, new years EVE here, 1th of May and my birthday here. All of the important dates that I usually spend in well known spot with well known people doing well known activities.
During all of my past 25 birthdays I have been doing the same things: organising a party and gather all of my friends. All of 7th of Aprils I spend in my country, since kinder garden until this one.
On 7th of April 2019 I woke up in a hostel room in Zadar, Croatia, it was raining outside and I could hear two random people snoring in the shared room. Rain ruined my plan to hitchhike but not my appetite to travel. I had a breakfast and drank kava s mljiekom (macchiato in Croatian) and moved on to the newt town along the Croatian coast. With my big backpack, looking like a true traveller visited 3 cities in one day, my friends weren’t around but I made friends with the sea salt, sun, swans and the most important person in my life, ME.
All in all it was the most unexpected, ,,go with the flow,, birthday and ended in Split in another Macedonian volunteer drinking rakija that my father made and she brought from my place.
Three mounts already passed from my journey on the EVS train. And I can say that a lot unexpected things happened to me during this time. For me the most important goal in my life is to grow as a person and to change in the direction that I want day by day to be closer to the person that I want to be and I can say that EVS did right job in this. It gives me challenging tasks that forces me to gain new skills and to collect new knowledge to achieve the goals. I can say that the EVS experience is pushing me out of the comfort zone all the time.
So far I took part in many different activities, in working with kids and youngsters. I took part in organising one youth exchange, one short term EVS and one seminar that gave me space to try new role in my life, to organise and lead some of the team building activities, games ect. So that gave me a chase to experience the whole process of organising different kinds of Erasmus + projects.
Another thing that I am really proud of is that together with two other volunteers that are studying psychology we started doing series of workshops connected with different topics of self awareness, personal growth, emotional intelligence, ect, which gives me the opportunity to practise the role of psychologist.
From now on I have five months left of the project and so many goals to reach and new things to learn.
My personal view of the project
You are reading one story of an ordinary Macedonian girl in Zagreb, Croatia. Or maybe I am not an ordinary girl, who knows.
Anyways today in my third day in Zagreb and first day in the office. So much happened in the last three days that I will need a few days to absorb all that.
When I got the news that I am accepted for this EVS I started preparing, packing all that I will need in the next 7 and a half mounts, but here in Zagreb I didn’t brought just my huge luggage, I also packed my expectations, my fears, my previous experience, my future plans, my dreams and nightmares and I traveled for 15 hours seeking new experiences and adventure.
I have to admit that my biggest fear is that I will get bored here and my motivation will decrease as the time is passing.
Although I am trying not to create images and expectations about the future one thing I know for sure that after 7 mounts I won’t be the same Olivera as I am today and like that fact. After all everything is changing and that is a process that no one can stop. Everything is coming and going. Since I am a Psychologist i love working on my personality. I can’t ever become perfect but my goal is after this EVS to be at least 4 levels closer to the person that I wanna be.