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First Get-to-Know

Hei Elisa.

Please, describe your today’s mood in one French word.


What does it mean?

It means “quite”. It’s about being good and not having any pressure.

Elisa, please characterise yourself.

I’m a reserved person at first. In an unknown surrounding I need time to be myself. That time comes when I feel comfortable with other people. I’m a person who enjoys laughing, talking, singing and dancing. I’m a real clown. – I’m funny. *laughs* I like to listen to people, exchange and learn with and from them. I know exactly what I want and I’m direct and straight forward, fully open-minded and able to benefit from different point of views. And art is important in my life. Graduated in the world of graphics, I’m often attracted by artistics things. 

What kind of hobbies do you have?

I spend a lot of time listening to music. I love singing. Music has always been present in my life. I’m also passionate about astrology and precious stones. I love history: In Belgium I participated in historical re-enactment. By the way, I am Netflix addicted. I love watching series or documentaries. I really love cocooning with a cup of tea and chocolate to watch a good series.

What does volunteering mean to you?

For me volunteering is about meeting people with other horizons and being able to exchange with them. Learning about different ways of life. Get to know others, but also be yourself. It is also to get out of my comfort zone and explore the world and and new surroundings.

How do you like staying at Hyvärilä?

It’s a beautiful place. I can’t wait to see the landscape in summer. It’s going to be so different. I love nature and I am completely satisfied here.

What did you enjoy about being here the most so far?

Snow! When I arrived there was so much snow. I had never seen so much before. So I am super sad because it melts. I also enjoy listening to people. They have so much to tell. Even though sometimes it’s a little bit complicated for me to understand everything, I like listening to people’s stories.

What are your personal experiences since you have arrived in Nurmes? 

For me speaking so much English is a big change. My English is not perfect, I already see a big difference just after a week. I can understand whole conversations and I can express myself. At the beginning that was not easy for me. 

What are the main differences you sorted out so far between Belgium and Finland?

Respect for each other’s personal space. Here in Finland no one will stand right next to you on the train or in a restaurant. Everyone respects each other’s space and it’s so good! In Belgium everyone sticks together, nobody respects personal space. Also, in Finland people only talk to you if they know you and they have something to say to you. Nobody speaks randomly. In Belgium, we like sharing stories of our life to everyone. Here we are very discreet and respect each other’s privacy and space. I love this way of thinking.

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Hei Olga.

Would you describe your today’s mood in one German word, please?

It will be motiviert.

What does it mean?

That is simple. It means motivated. Today I woke up early and had the impression there is a whole day to make good plans for our digital work as well as having time to take care of myself. I could schedule the day myself.

Olga, please characterise yourself.

I get feedback about being friendly, curious, easy-going and open-minded but also determined. Describing myself, I would say I am determined, eager, communicative, creative and passionate about my projects. I enjoy discussions and meeting people but I also enjoy the quiet. Having time for me and my personal space is very important to me.

What does volunteering mean to you?

Volunteering has always been a huge part of my life. While volunteering I have found my friends, supporters and people I share the same mindset. Helping people and making changes while learning something new at the same time is a good way to participate in social interactions.

How do you like staying at Hyvärilä?

I totally enjoy staying at Hyvärilä. This place feels like the perfect place to be in Finland while volunteering. I feel very welcome. The team is great and – one of the most important facts – the food at the restaurant is wonderful. I think there is a lot to learn and a lot to create at Hyvärilä. 

What did you enjoy the most so far?

When I arrived I totally fell in love with the winter and snow all around here. I can’t remember spending so much time outside in Germany during winter season as I did on my first weekend here. Unfortunately temperatures increased and the snow is melting. *sad face*

What are your personal experiences since you have arrived in Nurmes?

Since I have arrived in Nurmes I feel totally comfortable but also very different. After having lived in Berlin for almost 7 years, it feels totally weird having so much peace, silence and nature around. Nurmes is very small, not having many facilities to offer, I’m used to. But that is totally fine. That’s why I’m here.

What are the main differences you sorted out so far between Germany and Finland?

Actually I didn’t find many differences by now. After being told about personal space and people’s reservation towards others I feel like I could become a perfect Finn as well. In Germany there are different regions, landscapes and attitudes. Actually comparing countries and attitudes is very difficult for me because comparisons always depend on personal experiences or stereotypes. Nevertheless, the climate is different, here is less sun, here is snow (!) and here are different living conditions compared to Germany. 

Let’s see what I will sort out in the next few months. I’ll keep you updated.


Published by volunteersofhyvarila

Hello! We are volunteers at Hyvärilä Youth Centre, Nurmes, Finland sharing experiences and projects.

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