Alice, 27 years old, from Italy, EVS Program Smile & Go in Petrinja, Croatia, Coordinate by IKS
Welcome to Petrinia, Croatia!
I chose to come to Petrinja in Croatia because I liked the idea behind this project, to teach Civic Education in schools. I always liked teaching and I’ve been a private tutor for quite a long time, so that was what originally got me interested in the project. At the moment I wasn’t working, since I finished my previous work contract and I was looking for some ways to spend my time doing something useful. After I saw the project prospect, I decided it was worth a try and sent my application. I’m quite happy to have been chosen, even though I didn’t really know a lot about this part of Croatia at all.
« My work as a Volunteer
is divided in two parts,
what I do for my project
and what I do to help
the other volunteers
in their projects.»
My life as a volunteer has been interesting and a real change from my routine. I was used to a desk job with a lot of fixed routines and obligations, while the volunteer “job” is based more on informal education. Approaching this idea was new for me and I had to adapt to it. But having some experience in a more structured job was also very helpful since I already knew how to organize my work and be more self sufficient.
My project consists mostly on the workshops I prepare for schools to help the kids have some knowledge about Civic Education, which is a subject that only seldom appears in school programs. Preparing the workshops requires research about the topic at hand, but most importantly some creativity when it comes to find an interesting way to teach it to children. For example, teaching something like the importance of budgeting and taxes to children in a “fun” way was surely a challenge, but I chose to do it through a game and an open discussion with the children about what they prioritize when they can buy something with their pocket money, and it turned out great. The part of my work as a volunteer that supports other people’s projects consists in participating in some fixed activities we have with the home of elderly people and the mentally ill hospital; but also helping in some workshops as a support.
« My life outside the project
is also different from what
I was used to in my country »
Living in Petrinja presents some interesting changes from what I was used to, and while they take some adapting, I have to say that I got some personal knowledge by going through them. One of the things that are very different from what I was used to is making fire in a furnace and tending to it all day to have heating in our house. Here it’s common to not have electrical central heating and every house has a furnace or several stoves that need to be tended to all day long to maintain warmth inside the house (this is also true for our workplace!). I am now used to do it with my housemates, but at the beginning it was surely a challenge.
Overall my decision to come to Petrinja, in Croatia, as a volunteer is something that’s affecting my life everyday, in several ways. It will surely change me as a person, because it’s already changing my point of view about several things. I think everyone can benefit from a change in their life and this is definitely a good way to go about it.