Brief statements we would have liked to know at our arrival // Pár vecí, ktoré by sme boli rady vedeli ešte predtým, ako sme prišli na projekt

Living in a new city is always an adventure that, sometimes, could lead to a bad end. Here comes a summary of all the things that took us months to discover and that we would have preferred to know beforehand:  Continue reading

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Akých 7 divov? / Which 7 wonders?

Odpoveď je veľmi jednoduchá: no predsa 7 divov Slovenska! Od príchodu do tejto krajiny cudzinci objavujú jej úžasnú prírodu, fascinujúcu kultúru a štedrých ľudí. Postretlo ich však aj všeličo neočakávané a zažili veľa zábavných situácií.  🙂

Jednou z najlepších vecí na zahraničnej skúsenosti akou je EDS, je spoznávanie inej kultúry a možnosť porovnať ju s tou našou. Zisťujeme, akými rôznymi spôsobmi sa dá pozerať na svet, pričom nakoniec si možno uvedomíme, že zvláštni sme práve my!

V tejto časti by sme sa s vami radi podelili o zážitky dobrovoľníkov z pobytu na Slovensku, ktoré sú z pohľadu cudzinca vtipné, zaujímavé, čudné, ba dokonca šokujúce …

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The answer is very easy: Slovakia’s 7 wonders! Since arrival in this country, foreigners had the opportunity to discover beautiful landscapes, a fascinating culture and generous people, but also came across unexpected and really funny situations 🙂

One of the best things about an international experience such as EVS is to discover another culture and to compare it with yours, to see how things are seen differently. In the end you’ll realise that perhaps the peculiar one is just yourself!

In this new section we’d like to share with you some of the volunteers´ experiences from Slovakia that from a foreigner’s perspective seem funny, interesting, weird and sometimes even shocking …

Nech sa páči?!

Truly a little wonder in the world of polysemie is the Slovak expression ‘nech sa páči’.  Just when I thought I got the meaning of ‘nech sa páči’ as more or less ‘here you are’, I realized people saying it in situations that could not mean ‘here you are’ at all. Passing a market stand, the shopkeeper addressed me with ‘nech sa páči’, entering a shop it happened the same. When people open the door for you, they accompany the gesture with a ‘nech sa páči’, or just when they offer you their seat or place in a queue. Even the moment where you clink your glasses is preceded by ‘nech sa páči’! I think in English you need a lot of different expressions for all these situations, but it took me an incredible long time to realize that we actually have a proper equivalent in German! As far as I can tell, ‘Bitte schoen’ can be used in the same broad range of contexts, but I am sure I have not yet heard all the possible uses of ‘nech sa páči’.

Anyway, it can be a very help- and useful expression, especially if you still lack most of the rest of Slovak vocabulary.

Miriam

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Jedným zo 7 divov polysémie je slovenský výraz „nech sa páči“. Keď som si už myslela, že som konečne pochopila jeho význam (viac menej zodpovedajúci anglickému Here you are.), uvedomila si, že ho ľudia používajú aj v situáciách, kedy nikomu nič nepodávajú. Predavač v stánku v obchode ma oslovil „nech sa páči“, pri vchádzaní do obchodu som počula to isté. Keď vám niekto otvorí dvere, uvoľní svoje sedadlo alebo miesto v rade, povie „nech sa páči“. Dokonca aj pred pripíjaním sa ozve „nech sa páči“. V angličtine by ste podľa mňa museli použiť oveľa viac výrazov. Trvalo mi neuveriteľne dlho, kým som si uvedomila, že v nemčine vlastne máme ekvivalent: Bitte schoen má rovnako široké použitie ako „nech sa páči“, hoci som určite ešte neobjavila všetky možné významy ohto slovenského výrazu.

Tak či onak, ide o veľmi nápomocné a užitočné slovné spojenie, najmä ak stále neovládate väčšinu slovenskej slovnej zásoby.

Miriam

Preklad: Stanislava Dengová, Jana Jašková

To take your shoes off or not to take your shoes off? that’s the question // Vyzúvať sa či nevyzúvať? To je otázka!

Once I got used to not kiss everyone I greet or wave off in Slovakia, another handicap came up: shoes. This is one of the main things that, in my southern mentality, stroke me of this country and a behavior I still have to remind myself I should do.

The first time I got into a Slovak flat, someone had to tell me to take my shoes off because, obviously, they were wet and full of dirt and any person in their right mind would like to have those things walking around their floors. What was my surprise when I discovered that this wasn’t only a common practice in here but also a matter of being polite.

Google images: http://www.elcomercio.es/noticias/ 201003/11/Media/huellas-madera--300x180.jpg

Google images: http://www.elcomercio.es/noticias/
201003/11/Media/huellas-madera–300×180.jpg

Back in my hometown, where the sun usually shines and rain (and let’s not talk about snow) is not that usual, one would never ever take off their shoes in someone else’s house without asking ahead, and only if you know the owner of that particular house very well. In fact, even if you would use slippers in your own home to be more comfortable, in the moment you receive a visit, you would put some shoes on. It was very shocking to realize that what it is consider ‘good manners’ in my city, it could be seen as a not particularly nice attitude in here.

Nonetheless,in this case , I must give the points to Slovakia… once you entered in the world of fluffy slippers and warm socks, you never want to go out. From now on, every time that the hamletian dilemma comes to my mind, I will know what to choose.

Irene.

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Keď som si už konečne zvykla nebozkávať na líca všetkých ľudí, ktorým sa na Slovensku pozdravím alebo zakývam, objavil sa ďalší problém: topánky. V porovnaní s našou južanskou mentalitou ma zaskočilo, že na Slovensku sa na návštevách ľudia zvyknúť vyzúvať a neustále si to musím pripomínať.

Počas prvej návštevy slovenskej domácnosti ma museli upozorniť, aby som sa vyzula, pretože som mala topánky celé mokré a špinavé od blata. Žiadny normálny človek by si v takých topánkach po dome nechodil. Prekvapilo ma, že vyzuť sa je nielen bežné, ale dokonca je to prejav slušnosti.

V meste, z ktorého pochádzam, zvyčajne svieti slnko a dážď je nezvyčajným úkazom (o snehu ani nehovorím). Na návšteve by sme si topánky nikdy nevyzuli, jedine žeby sme domácich veľmi dobre poznali a spýtali sa ich na to vopred. Dokonca aj keď si doma obujeme papuče, aby sme sa cítili pohodlnejšie, akonáhle príde návšteva, obúvame si topánky. Šokovalo ma, že niečo, čo je doma podľa nás slušné, by Slováci za veľmi milé nepovažovali.

V tomto prípade sa však staviam na stranu Slovákov… keď si raz navlečiete teplé ponožky a obujete papuče, neviete si bez nich predstaviť život. Kedykoľvek stojím pred touto hamletovskou otázkou, už neváham.

Irene

Preklad: Stanislava Dengová, Jana Jašková

Good ideas from Slovakia // Zaujímavé nápady zo Slovenska

The months have passed, my project is about to end, so came my time for packing the luggage to travel back home. And to take some souvenirs, of course :)) It is really hard to chose, what to take – there are so many things I got for the almost 10 months here, but since my bag capacity is limited I should chose and take just the best things. And I have decided – beside the Horalky, Kofola and Hruškovica there is something more, which I really want to take – the good ideas from Slovakia, or things I really liked here and want to bring them home (and hope to start working there too :))

So here are the best of them:

  • School canteens – as far as I got informed, every school student can be enrolled to have lunch (consisting of soup, meal and something to drink – water or juice) in one of the canteens. I think it is a very good idea and really prevents the youngsters to get overweight consuming fast food all the time. Unfortunately in Bulgaria, despite of all the projects and efforts about it, we still don’t have this practice (or at least not in many places), but I think it would be good to take this idea and try to implement it still (well, maybe soup and meal would be too much for us, but just one of them would be a perfect replacement of the hamburger)
  • School competitions, subject olympiads and scientific conferences for students – since my hosting organization for my voluntary service was center organizing such kind of events, I got the opportunity to get to know more about these activities. Well, if I have to be accurate we also have some sport competitions and school olympiads in Bulgaria, and as a student I have participated in many of them (but usually they are organized just in some schools, they don’t take place very often and not for all subjects…). Here in Slovakia these activities are organized by organizations, which are not schools (which I find it a good idea – firstly, these organizations have the capacity to invite teachers from different schools to evaluate the work of the students and secondly, that looks more fair to me). Also once I had the great chance to see a scientific conference for high school students (Stredoškolská odborná činnosť). And it was really amazing – on the conference participated students from different schools and professional gymnasiums, each of them had prepared and presented an own project in one of the many topics (mathematics and physics; pedagogy, psychology and sociology; economics; history, philosophy and law sciences; informatics; building and architecture; health and pharmacology and many more). I even saw some of the presentations and they were so professional, so I was really fascinated by these young high-school students…
  • Divadlo z Pasáže  or as we call it “Special theatre” – it is a theatre where work people with mental disabilities (and I have seen some of their shows – they are really good). I think it is a really great idea – it is unique opportunity for these people to do something good for them and good for the society, but also a way to solve really many problems, in my opinion…
  • Nice eco-/ eco- and art- communities situated in small villages – here in Slovakia i got to know about several organizations, situated in different small villages, working to promote ecological style of living, but also some of them make very nice art. Here are just some examples, about which I got to know, but for sure there are more: PERIFÉRNE CENTRÁ, situated in Dúbravica, Zaježka in Zaježova, Alter-Nativa organization in Brdárka, Prencov 60 Theater in Prencov and many more. I think it is very brave but really great idea to create and run such organization in so small communities. I wish in Bulgaria we also have them (or maybe we have them, but I am just not aware about them – so thanks to Slovakia I know that they could exist and try to search them ;))
  • Cool campaigns – I got to know two very nice campaigns, run here, which I really like and for sure would like to “bring back home” (maybe there are much more, but I didn’t get to know about them). The first of them targets the parents and tries to make them more aware about the fact how important is to spend time with their children: Viac mesta pre detiviac mestoThe second one is also very good idea – it tries to encourage people to buy local products: “Vyrobené na Slovensku” -> and the Slogan of this campaign says that if every Slovak spends just 1 Euro per day to buy products, made in Slovakia, that would assure a work for 100 000 people a year (Amazing, isn’t it? That make to want bringing this idea to Bulgaria even more – we all constantly complain that we don’t have work and every factory is closed, but we all go for the cheap Turkish and Chinese goods…)
  • Transport (don’t get me wrong – in Bulgaria we also have transport and I actually like it, but not in a way they have it here). For example
    • The local transport – I was amazed how punctual the local transport is here – when people go to the bus stop, they can see at what time comes the bus. And if it is written that bus number 4 comes at 14:07, it really comes at 14:07 – not at 14:06 or 14:08 (even though on every bus stop the driver has to wait all the people to get on board and to buy tickets before the bus leaves)
    • Cestovné poriadky super amazing web-site where you can check how to get from town A to village B with all the possible variations of bus/ train/ bus and train connections (also have new addition – air planes). I find that amazing, because everybody can easily check and plan his/ her trip just with several clicks (for people, who don’t know Slovak there is also English and German version).
  • Neighbourhood communities – when I came first here, I got to know about the procedure of keeping the living block clean – every neighbour has to clean every two weeks the floor and the stairs in front of their apartment, in the winter there is also snow service – every week there is a different family from the block, which is on duty to clean the snow in front of the building (well, in my country we usually have another practise – people from the block hire somebody to clean – maybe in this case is better to give employment to somebody, even for very small salary). But later during my stay in Slovakia I got to know that the local community spirit is really stronger than I thought – the different neighbours in the city have some local organization (for example the neighbour I live in Banska Bystrica – I got to know about their blog/ site from an advert, which was on the entrance door of the house, announcing an upcoming flea market in the neighbourhood, organized by and for the people living here). But after that I got to know that they organize many more things. The same applies also for a neighbourhood in Zvolen, who has organized a very nice sport- and children-games activity two weeks ago and even one EVS volunteer participated there.
  • Funny expressions – well, I have to be honest that unfortunately I didn’t do my best to enrich my Slovak language vocabulary as much as it was possible. But anyway, I got to know some expressions, which I really like and would like to bring home (and even at some point they could be even understood by my Bulgarian friends) – for example “Mám rád/a” (I can’t explain why, but I really like this expression), “Ježiš” (in the beginning I was really wondering why every time when something goes wrong the Slovak people call the hedgehog – in my language Ježko is the fairytale name for the hedgehog, but just some months later I learned the truth :P) and of course my favourite “Moje nervy” (which will always remind me of some really great people I met here :))

Well, I guess my bag pack is quite full already and I should slowly go to the end (another nice expression, which I “met” for the first time here 🙂

So, thank you very much, Slovakia, for being such a nice host for me! I promise to visit you someday again with a bag full of good things from Bulgaria.

With a lot of smiles,
Vesselina

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Desať mesiacov ubehlo ako voda a moja dobrovoľnícka služba sa chýli ku koncu. Je čas zbaliť si kufre a vrátiť sa domov. Pri balení však nemožno zabudnúť na suveníry :)). Počas pobytu na Slovensku som dostala mnoho darčekov, preto je ťažké sa rozhodnúť, čo si vziať so sebou. Keďže kufor má len určitý objem, mala by som si vybrať len tie najlepšie. Rozhodla som sa, že si chcem domov zobrať okrem horaliek, Kofoly a hruškovice ešte niečo – zaujímavé slovenské nápady, ktoré sa mi veľmi zapáčili (pričom dúfam, že sa v Bulharsku rozbehnú rovnako dobre ako tu :).)

Medzi tie najlepšie patria:

  • školské jedálne – každý žiak či študent na Slovensku má možnosť chodiť na obedy do školskej jedálne (obed zahŕňa polievku, druhé jedlo a nápoj – vodu alebo džús). Podľa mňa je to veľmi šikovné riešenie. Mladí ľudia sa tak môžu vyhnúť nadváhe, ktorou často trpia kvôli stravovaniu sa vo fast foodoch. Napriek všetkým snahám a projektom v tejto oblasti sa v Bulharsku ani naďalej mladým neposkytuje zdravá strava (ak aj áno, tak len na niektorých miestach). No aj tak si myslím, že by sme tento nápad mali zrealizovať aj u nás (možno by sme nezjedli polievku aj druhé naraz, no aj jeden z chodov by bol prospešnou náhradou za nezdravý hamburger).
  • školské súťaže, predmetové olympiády a vedecké konferencie pre študentov – o týchto aktivitách som sa dozvedela vďaka tomu, že organizácia, v ktorej prebiehala moja dobrovoľnícka služba, sama organizuje podobné podujatia. Aby som uviedla veci na správnu mieru, aj v Bulharsku máme športové súťaže a školské olympiády a ako študentka som sa aj mnohých zúčastnila (prebiehajú však len na niektorých školách a len vo vybraných predmetoch…). Na Slovensku tieto aktivity uskutočňujú iné inštitúcie ako školy (čo pokladám za veľmi dobrú myšlienku z niekoľkých dôvodov – po prvé, pre zhodnotenie práce študentov pozývajú inštitúcie učiteľov z viacerých škôl, po druhé, takto je to férovejšie). Raz som sa dokonca dostala na vedeckú konferenciu pre stredné školy (Stredoškolská odborná činnosť). Účastníkmi boli študenti z rôznych škôl a gymnázií. Ich úlohou bolo predstaviť projekt, ktorý sami vypracovali na jednu zo stanovených tém (matematika a fyzika, pedagogika, psychológia a sociológia, ekonomika, história, filozofia a právo, informatika, stavebníctvo a architektúra, zdravie a farmakológia atď.). Niektoré prezentácie boli na veľmi vysokej úrovni, čím na mňa slovenskí stredoškoláci poriadne zapôsobili…
  • Divadlo z Pasáže, alebo ako ho voláme my – „Špeciálne divadlo“, je divadlo, v ktorom účinkujú ľudia s mentálnym postihnutím (videla som niekoľko ich predstavení a sú skutočne dobrí). Táto myšlienka je podľa mňa úžasná. Pre účinkujúcich predstavuje jedinečnú príležitosť urobiť niečo dobré pre seba i pre spoločnosť a zároveň je to spôsob, ako vyriešiť mnoho problémov…
  • eko a umelecké komunity v malých dedinách – zistila som, že na Slovensku funguje niekoľko organizácií sídliacich v rôznych malých dedinách, v ktorých sa presadzuje ekologický životný štýl alebo sa vytvárajú krásne umelecké výtvory. Patria medzi ne napr.: Periférne centrá v Dúbravici, Zaježka v Zaježove, združenie Alter Nativa v Brdárke, Prencov 60 Theater v Prenčove a mnoho ďalších. Myslím, že vytváranie a riadenie organizácií tohto typu v takých malých komunitách je veľmi odvážna, no zároveň obdivuhodná myšlienka. Kiežby sme v Bulharsku tiež také mali! (A možno aj máme, len ich zatiaľ nepoznám. No vďaka Slovensku viem, že existujú a že je možné ich vyhľadať ;).)
  • skvelé kampane – na Slovensku prebiehajú dve kampane, ktoré by som určite chcela „priniesť domov“ (možno ich je oveľa viac, len som sa o nich nedozvedela). Prvá z nich s názvom Viac miesta pre deti je zameraná na rodičov. Pomáha im uvedomiť si, aké dôležité je tráviť čas so svojimi deťmi. Druhá s názvom Vyrobené na Slovensku povzbudzuje ľudí k tomu, aby si kupovali domáce výrobky. Motto kampane naznačuje, že ak by každý Slovák minul 1 euro denne na domáci produkt, zabezpečila by sa tým práca pre 100 000 ľudí na rok (Nie je to úžasné? To ma ešte viac pohýna k tomu, aby sa táto myšlienka zaviedla aj v Bulharsku – ustavične sa sťažujeme na nedostatok práce a zatvorené továrne, no zároveň všetci nakupujeme lacné výrobky z Turecka a Číny…)
  • doprava (nechápte ma zle, aj v Bulharsku máme dopravu a v podstate sa mi páči, no funguje iným spôsobom ako tu), napríklad:
    • miestna doprava – na Slovensku ma milo prekvapila dochvíľnosť šoférov. Ľudia si na zastávke môžu pozrieť odchody autobusov. Ak je napísané, že má štvorka prísť 14:07, tak príde 14:07. Ani o minútu skôr, ani o minútu neskôr (a to napriek tomu, že šofér musí na každej zastávke počkať, kým všetci ľudia nastúpia a zakúpia si cestovný lístok ešte predtým, ako sa autobus pohne).
    • cestovné poriadky – super webová stránka, kde si môžete zistiť všetky možné spojenia z mesta A do dediny B – linky pre autobusy, vlaky alebo oboje (najnovšie už aj lety). Stačí len zopár kliknutí a každý si môže naplánovať alebo skontrolovať svoju cestu (pre tých, ktorí nehovoria po slovensky, stránka ponúka aj anglickú a nemeckú verziu).
  • susedské spolužitie – keď som prvýkrát prišla na Slovensko, dozvedela som sa, že tu má každá rodina v bytovke na starosti upratovanie – raz za dva týždne musí umyť dlážku a schody pred svojím bytom. V zime sa k tomu pridáva aj odpratávanie snehu spred bytovky – pričom sa rodiny striedajú každý týždeň (v Bulharsku máme iný systém – obyvatelia bytovky si na tieto služby nájdu a zaplatia človeka. V tomto prípade sa mi zdá lepšie niekoho zamestnať, aj keď len za malý plat). Neskôr som si všimla, že miestny duch susedstva je oveľa silnejší, ako som si myslela. Jednotlivé mestské časti si vytvárajú vlastné miestne organizácie (napríklad štvrť v Banskej Bystrici, v ktorej žijem – o ich blogu resp. webovej stránke som sa dozvedela z oznamu visiacom na vchodových dverách, ktorý upozorňoval na nadchádzajúci blší trh v danej časti mesta. Pripravovali ho miestni pre miestnych. Po čase som zistila, že organizujú ešte mnoho ďalších aktivít. To isté platí o Zvolene. Pred dvoma týždňami tam miestna komunita zorganizovala veľmi milé športové podujatie s hrami pre deti, na ktorom sa dokonca zúčastnil aj jeden dobrovoľník EDS.
  • vtipné výrazy – úprimne musím uznať, že som neurobila maximum preto, aby som sa naučila po slovensky čo najviac. Napriek tomu som sa naučila niekoľko výrazov, ktoré som si veľmi obľúbila a chcem si ich odniesť so sebou domov (do určitej miery im možno budú rozumieť aj moji kamaráti v Bulharsku). Napríklad „mám rád/a“ (neviem vám vysvetliť prečo, ale tento výraz sa mi naozaj páči), ďalej „Ježiš!“ (Najprv mi prišlo divné, že vždy keď sa ľuďom na Slovensku niečo nepodarí, spomenú ježka. Až po niekoľkých mesiacoch som zistila, čo to v skutočnosti znamená.) a samozrejme obľúbené „Moje nervy!“ (ktoré mi vždy pripomenie niektorých úžasných ľudí, ktorých som tu stretla :).)

Myslím, že môj kufor je už dosť plný a mala by som pomaly končiť (ďalšie milé slovné spojenie, s ktorým som sa tu stretla po prvýkrát :).

Tak ti, milé Slovensko, ďakujem za hrejivé prijatie! Sľubujem, že sa raz vrátim s kufrom plným zaujímavých nápadov z Bulharska.

S pozdravom,

Vesselina

Preklad: Jana Jašková, Stanislava Dengová

EVS Christmas in Slovakia

The last year was unique – not only because of living our new life in
Slovakia, but also because of celebrations in this country. This is mostly valid for the Christmas.

It turned out, that for the holidays I and Dan didn’t go home and stayed here, in Banská Bystrica. So, we couldn’t have the traditional Christmas celebration with our families, but for sure we didn’t feel alone. Because there were some other people here, just like us – living here for a while and staying in Banská Bystrica for the holidays. Together we had our unique International Christmas celebration. Of course, it was not like having the traditional Christmas eve, we all are used to, but on its way it was really nice – who knows, when would we have again a Christmas dinner with people from England, Italy, Latvia, Romania and Bulgaria at one place?

24 dec 2012

Our Christmas bread
According to the tradition it was decorated with: a cross, a sun, wheat, fence, sheep, chicken, grapes and apple. Could you find them? 😛

In my opinion the event was both – having fun and intercultural learning. I and Alex (my friend from Romania, who is an AIESEC intern in Banská Bystrica now) prepared the dinner. I was really surprised how similar the Christmas traditions are in Bulgaria and Romania (especially concerning the food :)). We had dinner consisting of: traditional Bulgarian Christmas bread, two types of salads, pork meal with sour cabbage, traditional Romanian Christmas roast with potatoes and spices and boiled wheat with honey and nuts. It was a challenge to bake the bread on my own and in the end it was suitable not only for eating (or it’s better to say “trying to eat it”) but also for a self-protection tool (in case anybody attacks you on the street :D). It was also interesting to discover that my perception of “salad” for sure is not the same like the one, which people coming from the UK or Italy have. But that’s how we had more topics for jokes and we had even much more fun. 🙂

Thinking back about it I could surely say that all my fears of having a Christmas away from home really didn’t come true and it was quite the opposite – I got a great time and I really enjoyed it. Somehow it enriched me with new experience, somehow reminded me again the old wisdom that in order to have a good time with people it is not about their nationality, it is about their personality – so this Christmas I really felt great with my new big happy family from all over the Europe. And for me the EVS Christmas in Slovakia was actually like EVS itself – you should dare to go out of the cosy home in order to find really amazing things, otherwise you can never even imagine they exist. 😉

Vesselina

Why EVS and why Slovakia

Since our arrival in Slovakia, we have already had quite a lot of opportunities to make presentations on various topics, especially about volunteering and in particular about the European Voluntary Service. During these presentations we realised that young people are interested to know more about our experiences and especially about the reasons why we decided to apply to EVS and to come to Slovakia. We have already talked a bit about our motivations in our presentation blog, but let’s now go a bit deeper.

Dan

Before coming to Slovakia I used to work in a bank. For me the job was not  interesting at all: I felt that I was doing something with of no benefits for the community and also for me. I wanted to do something useful for other people and for my self development and this is the main reason why I applied to EVS.

EVS is a very good program, as it is a very well organised and professional opportunity to volunteer, to travel to other European countries, to broaden one’s horizons and to feel more European, which is especially for me an important factor as in my country most people just feel British. Thanks to EVS, all this can be done with no cost, which for me is great, as I don’t come from a well-off background. When I decided to apply, I did some research and found this project: the activities sounded very suitable to me and Banská Bystrica and Slovakia as a whole looked very interesting. I applied and fortunately I was selected 🙂

Manu

I’ve heard of EVS for the first time about 2 years ago from a friend who had already done it. I immediately liked the idea of volunteering in another country, as I was already doing some volunteering as teacher and interpreter, which I really liked, and I’ve always liked travelling. When I decided to apply to EVS I immediately thought about Slovakia, as I had already been studying Slovak at the university for about 1 year and as I knew that it was a really stunning country with amazing landscapes.

For me EVS means doing something useful and meaningful to other people and, at the same time, having the chance to improve my Slovak to increase my job opportunities as interpreter for the EU market, which is what I would like to do in the future. In addition, thanks to EVS, you can exchange experiences with people from other countries and get to know a different culture. I’m sure that after EVS I’ll be a better person, friend and interpreter.

Vessy

EVS is the thing, which I would like to do since looong, long ago. Everything began in 2006, when I was new and fresh volunteer in Bulgarian Red Cross Youth (BRCY) in Varna. It was the very beginning of my process of discovering the volunteering, how great and wonderful it is for me and what amazing opportunities it gives to me. It was then, when one of my friends – Pavel, also a volunteer in BRCY, took part in a short-term EVS project in Slovakia. His project was ecological – it was realized short after a big hurricane, which destroyed a big part of the mountain forest in Slovakia, so the volunteers, working in this project had to prepare the place and to plant new trees to grow and to recover the forest. After coming back from the project he shared so great stories – he met about 20 people from all over the Europe, made so many new friends, visited so beautiful places in Slovakia, had a really great life-long experience. I was so amazed by all the things he said, so I wanted to do something similar too.

That’s how I started looking for information about this program, and as more I learned about it, as much more I wanted to take part in it. I decided that I really have to participate in a long term-project, so I could get more valuable experience, to have the possibility to do more things and to have a bigger impact. For this purpose, however I had to wait a little – I had to finish my high school, then my university…

But during the years I continued collecting information about EVS, I even had the chance to meet many EVS volunteers, coming to volunteer in Bulgaria (and I was really surprised how people from the big famous countries like England, France, Germany and Spain chose Bulgaria for their voluntary service). I also met many Bulgarian volunteers, who go abroad to participate in an EVS-project.

And so, year by year came my time to look for a project…

Choosing my project was actually not as long and hard process, as I expected. I just had one preference – the project to be interesting for me and to give me a lot of opportunities to work in different fields and to gain a rich experience. So, unlike my friends who want to do EVS in Germany or France to practice their language skills, I just wanted to find an interesting project, doesn’t matter in which country. That’s how I found the project in CVČ-Junior – and here I am in Banská Bystrca, SlovakiaJ).