Regarding EVS 2015, it had a similar pattern as the year before: four volunteers, youth work in the youth center, workshop with the kids and the schools. To know more about it I contacted Diogo, one of the team from that year.
Interwiew with the volunteer: Diogo
- Who are you? Present shorthly your person 😊 (name, age, nationality, what do you do in life…)
“Hello! My name is Diogo, I am Portuguese, I am 26 and currently what I do for a living is that I work for the European Commission in the field of policy and I live in Brussels, right now
- Who did you wanted to be in your childhood?
When I was a kid, I wanted to be many things but most of all I wanted to be a Film Director, so nothing related with anything I ended up doing. I have never pursued that, but this is what I wanted to be.
- What motivates you in life?
Ouhm ok, tricky question :D. I think what motivates me is actually trying to be happy and having the people around me to be happy. I think that is what motivates me the most.
- Why did decided to participate in this project?
I decided to participate in EVS – in Poland was by chance, I was not specifically planning to go to Poland or Wroclaw, it just happended – because I have never had the chance to do Erasmus while I was in college, so it was a way to get some international experience and being a bit more involved in this [field], and also to pursue a bit this wish of contributing to the community, so EVS was a very good option
- Describe your working days as volunteer
Well, usually we were not very active in the morning, more in the afternoon in the morning we took the time to hang out, to do stuff and explore a bit the city. In the afternoon we were doing workshops, preparing the classes, ordering some other activities in Tratwa and also in Wroclaw for the European Capital of Culture. Then in the evenings we were getting home quite late compared to polish normal hours, around 8 pm, and then we were just hanging out, sometimes going out, some parties but not much.
- Tell us about your first cultural shock in Poland
I think my first cultural shock was when I was there for like two or three days and a collague from the association – he was polish – he took me and some other collagues at like 4pm to a bar to drink a beer and a shot of wodka – at 4 pm – and it was not easy to get home after that but it was basically the relashionship the Polish people had with partying and alcohol – doing this very early in the day, I was more used to have this social life during the night. So that was the first cultural shock, and the second – it was disturbing at the time – was that everybody was very very quiet on public transport and coming from a Southern European country that very uncommon
- Which activity did you like the most during the volunteering?
The part I liked the most was the workshops day, organized for schools in two polish cities – I don’t remember the names but I was kind of in the mountain, so very nice, we got three days and the full day workshop with the kids, involving English activities, self-confidence, it was very very interesting, my favourite activity, to prepare and actually to put into practice
- What did you do when you finished your volunteering? Did this experience in Tratwa influenced your way of life?
After I finished my volunteering I went back to Portugal and a few months later I found a job – not related, but it was complicated times.. so yeah, I got a job, and it was basically what I have been doing since then. I do believe this experience influenced my life because maybe I managed to get a nice overwiew of the culture and the people and to meet and make friends that I still have today – maybe not as much in contact with them as I would like, but still keep in contact and that’s good. I believe having this experience, especially before when I was a student, was very, very important for me.
- What is the advice that you would like to give to the new volunteers?
I think the advice I can give to new volunteers is very simple (and I know is not very easy sometimes), but it is two things: the first one is to consider that things doesn’t always go as expected, so don’t get down by it but just continue going, push and do whatever you want to do, and remember to adapt, to be flexible when thigs don’t go as planned – and that is often the case. Second advice is to be proactive: don’t be afraid of engaging, don’t be afraid of doing stuff, proposing stuff and actually going for it. From my experience people were very very open to new ideas, to new stuff, but sometimes people were overwhelmed and they didn’t had the time or the possibility to help you, but you could do it by yourself. and also on social life, on getting outside: just go and do it. for example, I was there during winter, the weather was very very hard for me that winter and I feel like some times I was not keen to do stuff because it was very very cold. but it was question of habit, and looking back I would have probably pushed myself a bit more to go and do stuff with other collagues, volunteers, friends. So, my advice is: this of this as a period and an experience that is there just for that moment, so you should take most you can out of it and you should take it for yourself. You’re helping people, but when you’re doing it, you are also taking something for yourself. It needs to be enjoyable, it needs to be pleasant moments for you, and then take the lesson for the rest of your life.