Fanni is finishing her EVS project at Terra Vera in Kostanjevica na Krki (Slovenia) and has written about her personal impressions of working and living there.
My EVS project just officially finished a few days ago on the 15th of September, and although I’m staying in Slovenia for a little while more, I feel strong need for looking back and taking time for meditating on what happened in the last seven months and how it changed me if it did.
My reasons for coming on an EVS were very personal, but I believe many of us have a similar drive. Sometimes you need to figure things out, either because you are at the beginning of 20s and you don’t know yet which way to go, or because you are at the end of your 20s and you already tried one or more ways which could or couldn’t work for you. During my first months here, I regulary took time for thinking through things and checking where I am, however as I immersed myself more and more in every day life and got to have more and more important tasks, the time dedicated for thinking naturally became less and less. Now as I am very close to the date of moving back to my home country, I create myself time and space once again to slow down and see and feel…
It’s as if I had just arrived here yesterday, time flew so fast. I had many „missions” for this more than half a year. To take time to write again. To have time for art and music again. To do something connected to my profession and to do meaningful work. To find out whether I am determined enough to pursue a countryside lifestyle after years of the „big city life” or not. So yes, I had a lot to do. The interesting aspect is that although I stopped consciously working on these questions after the first couple of months, I somehow still managed to find out something about all of them, and became stronger and more confident in making decisions on most of the topics I had been unsure of before.
Although I’m not sure how much I really managed to contribute to the life of my organisation, because it was only a really very short time (or at least it feels like so), I have felt that my skills and interests have been well used and taken into consideration. Living out of my usual social and professional network has forced me to take more steps on my own and be more resilient to changes and difficulties of whatever nature. I also realized it early on that back home, I was quite spoilt without knowing so. I had in fact all the required resources and connections to start my own projects buti t is very easy to ignore the signs which are pointing in the right direction when you are living in your usual circumstances, with the same people who have the same problems as you do. I never actually imagined that moving to the neighbouring country would open my eyes and refresh my perspectives at such a level but indeed it did. What I am most proud of is that I managed to establish some really interesting connections that helped me in my professional life, and who knows, perhaps will stay active even after moving back to my place.
I had the possibility to try myself out at several fields, and to have a glimpse into the life of the NGO sector with so much freedom, trust and goodwill that I had not dreamed about. And I could also have a quick but interesting view into the cultural and social life here. Well, many issues that I have been interested in here, I had also been interested at home before. But, it is much different to look into a culture somewhere with fresh eyes and a grown-up’s mind than having born into one. There are several drawbacks and assets on both sides of course, but I can only encourage anyone to keep your eyes open and your minds clear when you go on the adventure of discovering a new culture, because whataver you think or whatever you knew before, it can always bring surprises.
It has also been a good lecture for me about having to make steps first. I had to learn people’s behaviour and accept a lot of things that back at home, comfortably existing, or to be honest, sometimes just vegetating, in my chosen social network I was not forced or asked to accept. And I could go on and on about the interesting aspects of spending some time abroad that you might not expect – even though it was not my first time living abroad! All these experiences were even more interesting and valuable for me, because in the majority of the time, I worked with different groups of people and I had to face the challenge of converting what I had learned into a new and unknown environment – and, working with refugees later on, even into a new setting and new understanding of cultures. I have dreamed of this opportunity for a long time and even though it has not always been easy, I am very grateful for it and I can’t wait to use my knowledge and continue my work either in Hungary or in Slovenia.
Ah yes and if you wish to read about the awesome stuff my organisation where I was lucky to spend my 7-month evs project does, go and wander around the facebook page here: Terra vera.