"If you wanna change the world,
Start off by making your bed."
Hey, I am Batu, an EVS volunteer in Poland. I work in the office of Stowarzyszenie Polites. The volunteering in a foreign country - it is something new in my diverse life. Challenges and changes are not new and unknown for me. I like them, because there are the best opportunities to improve myself. I have had challenges and I have changed my life but what’s happening now is really different from my previous life.
So, I am an EVS volunteer in Szczecin. This is not a very big city, but it is really amazing. Szczecin is the place where people can see Prussian wonderful and sophisticated architecture, old Swedish character strength and accelerated pulse of modern Poland. There is the old city’s intimate charm which is combined with the fast speed of modernism. The mix is inimitable and unique.
For me volunteering is not only an activity without earning money. It is more, more than money or a career. It is a lifestyle which is full of joy, surprises, challenges and etc. The life of a volunteer is not boring, it is full of opportunities, you only need to be an active, creative person and you can find a lot of ways to start the changing.
I work in the office with other EVS volunteers (Mariia from Ukraine, Mira from Germany and Lenka from Slovakia). We make projects for the youth, we provide workshops for schools and kindergartens about our countries, different cultures, volunteerism, ecology, human , Erasmus + and etc. We are involved in activities of the “Regionalne Centrum Wolontariatu.” We are trying to show youth the power and possibilities of volunteerism because I believe that the volunteerism is a great opportunity to change the world and make it a better place.
I know it is very hard, but everything starts with small steps. Every meeting and every workshop with youths is small step, a little change to improve our life and our society.
But these changes are not one-sided. I realize that I’m changing every day. Every meeting, every workshop and just every day, they are changing me - I am changing them too. This is a never-ending process, so I am somewhere, somewhere in the middle of changes.
In the middle of changing –
I am Tina, 25 years old from Georgia. I am economist, accountant and financial manager. So, I spent all my life with numbers, math, selling, promotion, customer service and relationships.
Have you ever had a feeling that you have everything but on the same time you have nothing? When it’s time to move, leave your family, friends and find yourself?
General, I think I’m always in a hurry in my life, but in this case I’m little bit late, but better late than never.
So, I am in Szczecin, Poland for 8 months and think these are the best 8 months in my life. My working area has totally changed. I am working with children in a beautiful Stargard. I will never forget my first working day, when I was fully shaking but my cutie children helped me so much. And now I am so happy that I am a part of our big Stargard family. I don’t like when children call me 'Pani Tina', I am for them just Tina, their big friend who wants to teach them to be confident, independent, love and believe in themselves.
We are taking part in different social activities in Szczecin, had very interesting and useful Human Rights Week, which had a great impact on my point of views and changed my way of thinking. We organize workshops and trying our life be interesting and exciting here.
The most important part of my EVS life is our international family. Yes, we are not only friends, we are a big family. We share a lot of happy and difficult moments together, plan and do crazy trips all over the Europe. 'Happiness is only real, when it shared' and without them everything would be more difficult.
The most important thing that I learn is, to believe in myself and enjoy every moment of my life. Life is so unpredictable and full of surprises, like a weather in Poland.
And It’s still in process...
They said you would find yourself,
you would change your mind about some topics,
you will see the world with different views.
At first, they were just beautiful words that gave us hope but now I know that it is true.
Every day when I wake up and look through the mirror, I see new ME, with new advantages, more confident, stronger and brave. I explored myself, now I know what I really want, what I can, what are my opportunities and how to use them.
In the past I used to be afraid of loneliness, even could not stay one day at home only with myself, now I go to grocery, buy peanut butter, pizza and wine, turn on my lights and feel comfortable with ME. (Oh, peanut butter is my sweet pain).
I was and I'm still in love with my family and close friends in my country and I appreciate them even more now. Time by time we proved that we are united, have strong connection and it's worth to fight for. Also, here I met people with beautiful personalities, my new friends whom I can trust.
Coming here was the best decision in my life. In September I could say : `Don't worry, we have just 10 months here`, now honestly I have a fear of finishing this project, going back and saying good bye to my new family.
Polites is the best association. My Kindergarten 18 has the greatest people. Honestly, I'm proud of them. And I hope they will be proud of me too.
If there is a one thing you should do in life, go for volunteering!