What did I know about Finland when I found out that I was selected to EVS project in Finland? Nothing. Except for those geographical facts – it is European country with the capital Helsinki, bordering Russia and Sweden, climate quite cold and one more - Santa Claus lives in Lapland! All above-mentioned was my whole knowledge about Finland. I had enough time till my travel date and therefore, everything felt a bit far away and more like a fairy tale. When I received a visa and the tickets were bought, then I started realizing that I was going for one year to foreign country. In the airport everything become more tangible, after the farewell to my family, I was waiting for my flight’s boarding, expecting a totally unfamiliar country journey.
The only thing I was afraid of was people - What kind of people living in a new location? Will I manage to find any new friends? Everybody, who heard around me that I was going to live in Finland, telling me or asking me with great concern: "People are very cold there" or "How could you stay one year without your friends? I've heard Finnish people are very hard. " And after all, I came here with dozens of stereotypes, a little bit frightened, awaiting cold and darkness everywhere, but the reality wasn’t similar to what I have been told before.
The organization where I am working locates in the city of Turku and it is quite a big NGO. They have various youth centers and institutions where youngsters can spend free time, develop their hobbies and interests. Meanwhile, I am working, based on my interests, in the space where is a possibility to do manual things, for example, ceramic making workshop, where everyone can attend and do what they wish to and with our help, showing other ways and techniques to get the final and desired result. Finnish people are very attentive, if you need help during any trouble, nobody will leave you alone, maybe they expressing emotions in a different way than we are used to in Georgia- to excessively, but their care is much more tangible unlike to Georgians, who prefer a lot of talking.
Already, four months have passed since I am here, I have new, very caring and warm friends, and I am feeling like a home. What can I say about Turku? It is a very nice and little town, with many interesting people and places that have their history and past. There are three universities in Turku, so you do not feel the lack of youth around and everyone knows English. If Finnish says that he is bad in English, do not believe! Most probably he knows better English than you, but this shy attitude is the reason for Finnish perfectionism.
To summarize, I can say that you do not need to trust stereotypes and nonsense facts from the internet. Participation in this project has brought me such a piece of knowledge and experience than my entire lifetime together. I know very clearly that I will never regret the decision of traveling to Finland and participation in EVS project, and if there could be any chance to go again to this project I will, definitely, chose one more time.