This week is our Incoming Placement Officer and EVS-volunteer Marta’s last week with us! Read below what are her thoughts as the end of her EVS and what she plans next.
How did you end up doing an EVS with KVT?
Well, I had a little bit like a movie-feeling at the beginning. Like in some American movies, where you are being a protected witness and FBI relocate you and gives you a new identity. That was my feeling, surreal. I was living my ordinary life in Zagreb and out of the blue – bam – I was in Helsinki working in KVT office. I have been romanticizing about being an office lady for a long time and also it was a long wish of mine to live somewhere in the North of Europe, as that part of Europe was completely unfamiliar or exotic to me. Also I wanted to do something where you do at least harm as possible. So volunteering at KVT seemed like the best solution.
what kind of tasks and responsibilities did you have?
I didn’t know much of KVT or SCI before coming here, so everything was new for me. I was mostly taking care of Finnish summer camps and working with asylum seekers that take part of KVT camps, doing camp visits (visited most of the KVT’s camps during summer time), finding campleaders and organising a training for them. I was also a campleader at one of KVT’s camps. In the end I took part of organising KVT’s annual Volunteer Weekend where all the volunteers gather to evaluate camps, meet, celebrate and share their experiences. So I saw the whole cycle of Incoming Placement Officer’s work. It was also very inspiring to learn how SCI was founded, how it changed during the time and what good does it do. It’s inspiring to see that it was started by the vision of Pierre Ceresole and how it continued.
what have you learned?
When nothing is certain, everything is possible. I think I liked that feeling the most. Being at KVT rapidly introduced me to a lot of people and I settled in quite fast. I met some very interesting people from all walks of life. From garbageman to university teachers, entrepreneurs, old, young, single parents, students, students of Slavic languages, asylum seekers, musicians, artist, writers, foreigners, little ex-Yugoslavian community… Many unexpected encounters occurred. Due to KVT’s activities with asylum seekers I have met so many people from different African countries. Africa as a continent was basically terra incognita to me. Also meeting and collaborating with asylum seekers and refugees for sure changed my point of view. In addition all the other associations and projects I have learned about through my tasks at KVT have really tought me a lot: Oma Maa -community supported agriculture, educational gardens, Museum of Non-humanity, vegan society…
Also one of most memorable and life-changing experiences was being a campleader for two weeks at Keuruu eco-village and getting to know all the very nice people who live there in community. I experienced and learned so much. Everything was amazing and our camp host Ritva was one very special and incredible person. All that without doubts broadens you horizons – you see that the way things are in your country is not the only way they can be. You need to go away from the place to really be able to see it.
What did you enjoy the most?
I also have fallen head over heels in love with Helsinki and Finland and its endless forests and countless lakes and Finnish people who are very nice with interesting mixture of shyness, modesty, calmness, intelligence and a bit of craziness in a nice way, of course. I really enjoyed visiting Lapland – it’s a place like no other.
Helsinki is by far my favourite city. The architecture in Helsinki is a weird mixture of concrete brutalism and art nouveau buildings standing shoulder-to-shoulder. Also it is heavenly quiet and peaceful. Healing calmness all around. I have never felt such peace. Just what I need – true urban happiness. Nothing can compare with strolling around on a velvet soft summer white nights. I immediately get goose bums. Pure and fresh air with smell of forest and the sea. The difference of Helsinki in summer and in non-summer is unbelievable, like two completely different cities. They should even have different names. With all that – magically unique place. Then all those saunas and wooden houses. Laying on the shores of the lake next to the forest after wooden heated sauna. Also one thing I will miss for sure are Finnish libraries. Pasila library is like my second home. Rauhanasema, The Peace Station where KVT office is located – is a beautiful place with lot of interesting peace organisations.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your EVS?
Money and all problems related to that. Being a EVS volunteer you get very small amount of money which than affects your social life and basically all aspects of life. But it was also very interesting experiment. Some passive resistance to consumerism culture at least. I almost bought no clothes, well I almost haven’t bought anything. :) I completely changed most of my habits. Which turned out quite well. At the beginning it was hard. Also you need to be very creative, to put a lot of effort to survive and to have some kind of normal life. So that was also at the end a big adventure. It wasn’t easy but it was worth it.
What are you up to next?
No big plans for now. Me and my cat – quality time in Zagreb. :) First I’ll need some time to digest all that has happened and that I have done. Reflect about all experiences and somehow re-arrange and integrate them in my head. Now all this 9 months seem to me like one long busy day. I am hoping for a very cozy and boring winter (in a nice way). Films, books, music, tea lifestyle with some easy slow physical activity occasionally. And of course find some job, preferably in a school which will also be a big adventure that makes me a bit anxious. But let’s hope for the best. Also there are so many SCI educational tools to read and try out. After that – who knows – maybe I’ll end up in Kyrgyzstan.
Marta oli KVT:llä EVS -vapaaehtoisena aikavälillä 1.2.-31.10.2016. EVS tulee sanasta European Voluntary Service, joka on EU:n tukema nuorisovaihto-ohjelma 18-30 -vuotiaille. Suomessa sitä hallinnoi Kansainvälisen liikkuvuuden ja yhteistyön keskus CIMO. KVT toimii EVS-vapaaehtoisia lähettävänä, koordinoivana ja vastaanottavana tahona: vuosina 2015-2016 ulkomaille lähettämämme vapaaehtoiset ovat työskennelleet Makedoniassa, Espanjassa, Puolassa, Italiassa, Jordaniassa, Saksassa, Kroatiassa, Itävallassa ja Sveitsissä. EVS-vapaaehtoisuudesta voi lukea lisää täältä tai ottaa yhteyttä: