It’s time to introduce myself. My name is Dario and I am the new volunteer for KEKS organisation. I arrived in Sweden, more precisely Gothenburg, the last week thanks to the European Voluntary Service. According to the Erasmus+ Programme, the EVS is an international volunteer program that provides a possibility for young people aged between 18 to 30 years to carry out a full time voluntary service in an organisation based in a foreign country for a period ranging from 2 to 12 months.
Thanks to the intercultural dimension and its non-formal learning approach it is a unique opportunity to come into contact with different cultures and to acquire new skills and abilities useful for your personal and professional growth. What is the motive and the spirit that drives me to undertake this journey? I am very confident of the choice to land in a country that has always fascinated me thanks to the combination of its modernity and the attention and appreciation for nature and the environment. I am also convinced that the interaction with a society with traditions and habits very different from mine, will give me the opportunity to broaden my horizons and to acquire a new perception in the way of approaching many aspects of daily life. This is probably the aspect that most interests me in the journey: the process that leads you to become a different person. Because if it is often difficult to consciously perceive and understand the aspects changes us, there is nothing like going back where nothing has changed to realize how you are changed.
Returning to last week, as soon as I landed, I was greeted by a blizzard. Not the best way to start. On the contrary, my colleagues were particularly hearty to take care of me. My mentor Sara accompanied me on the island of the Gothenburg archipelago where I immediately met the very kind owners of the apartment. Coincidence, my roommate for the moment is an Italian guy, Corrado, although he’s coming back to his fatherland in a few days. However, during this week his help was very precious to make me acclimate. The impact with the new reality has not been particularly harsh considering that I have thoroughly searched information about the city and the Swedish habits before my departure; but, as you can imagine, the process of integrating into a new reality is not without complications. Soon my new housemate will be Tugba, who is arriving from Turkey waiting for visa. She’s also the other volunteer chosen by KEKS for the project. I’m sure I’ll be as helpful for her as Corrado was for me.
The first days in the office passed quickly. I need to understand and learn the dynamics, how it works and the tasks to perform will be several and different: handling e-mail, update the KEKS wordpress webpages and blog with information, texts and materials, handling administrative tasks such as managing a budget and reimbursement. Surely during these ten months I will develop my skills and obtain new ones. The activities seem very stimulating considering also the relationship between the office and the various youth centres here in Gothenburg where I will be able to help in various projects or even actualize one of my own. A Youth Center is a safe, supervised, social and recreational facility financed by the municipality providing leisure activities for young people. The Youth Center supports opportunities for youth to develop their physical, social, emotional, and cognitive abilities and to experience enjoyment, friendship, creativity, achievement and leadership. The Youth Centres offer a wide range of activities including: arts programs such as cinema, theater and music (studio recording and rehearsal room), physical and sports activities but also game playing, socializing, club meetings and outdoor play. A couple of days ago I visited my first one and I met Claes, the responsible of the film activities, available to teach me filming and edit a video; a competence that can be very useful not only for the office (for example to document conferences, seminars and meetings) but that can also be convenient in my future.
At last, of this first week I can not fail to mention two great girls I met: Johanna, who collaborates occasionally with the association and with whom I spent a pleasant evening-quiz in a pub in the center of the city and Klara, my social mentor, with whom I visited the Museum of World Culture and had my first “fika” (a social phenomenon that not only provides take a coffee but represents a true break, a moment to sit and contemplate on your own, or to gather with friends) in Sweden.
For now that’s all.
Vi ses snart!