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Why I’m here

My departure was really done on a whim. I heard on TV about the European Solidarity Corps, a young man was in Finland to volunteer. So I was drawn to what he said, “Travelling to Europe while helping people, learning, giving, receiving”, which is what I took away from what he said. So I talked about it with my parents because I always wanted to travel, learn more about other cultures but I didn’t have the means to do so, and here the European Solidarity Corps helps you financially. I had finished school, I still live with my parents, I don’t have an apartment, no boyfriend, no job. I was totally free to move to another country.

So I did my research the next day and registered on the ESC website. Going to the Nordic countries has always been a dream for me. I don’t know why, but I’ve always been attracted to this culture, this landscape so different from Belgium. What I was looking for was a volunteer or I could improve my English, very important to me and get out of my comfort zone, while doing what I love. When I came across the presentation of Hyvärilä’s volunteer position, the first thing I really liked was the frame. A lake, forests, vast expanses of nature is the first thing I’ve heard. After reading the information, I saw that we had a social network part, digital creation. What for me, is my comfort zone, what I like to do. Graduated in graphics I knew I could flourish in that part. The second part is working with young people, and that’s where I was going out of my comfort zone. I’ve never worked with young people, I’ve been a scout for 10 years, but I’ve never had to deal with people younger than me. At first, it scared me and then I thought what I was looking for was to learn and exchange. What could be better than working with young people to bring these two points together. I wanted to do something different, something unusual so what better than this job.

So I sent my application on a whim without really thinking about it, it was very, very fast. Two weeks later, I had a positive answer asking me to Skype. I couldn’t believe it. A few days later I am on video call with Ekaterina, the coordinator of Hyvärilä. And three days later I learned that I was accepted to leave 9 months at 3,000 km from home, in a country where no one speaks French and I did not know. I didn’t realize that I was leaving 9 months before the day of departure. It was once at the airport that I really understood what was going on. It’s all very, very fast, and I don’t really have time to think about it. I did it on a whim.

I have been here for 7 weeks now. The beginning, we will not lie to each other, was not very easy. Many changes in a very short time. Change of language, speak only English, meet many people, see many different places, remember everything, understand everything. That’s a lot .

But after these 7 weeks, I am happy to be here, proud of the path I have taken, of the progress I have already made. If I had been told, “You’re going to live in an unknown country for nine months” 8 months ago, I would never have believed it. I’m looking forward to it. Ready to climb mountains to advance, ready to learn more about others but also about myself. Meet me really so I can be ready to go through everything I have to go through.


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