Liisu – marzo 2023

Hello again!

Long time, no words. Since January, a lot of exciting things have been going on. 

The things at my work in La Vibria have changed and not changed in a way- it is still hard to describe what I do. But I have been able to participate in a lot of new things, for example I have practiced my project writing and brainstorming skills.  I was part of 2 teams with whom we submitted two applications for future projects. A youth exchange, which purpose is to give the participants the chance to disconnect from technology, spend a week in nature and learn about personal development. The other project is a training course for youth workers about mental health. So fingers crossed that they get approved- this way we will be able to facilitate them already this summer, before my volunteering ends. I also helped to write other long-term projects- one about developing a training module for interculturality, the other about creating educational games for helping young people find a job, using virtual reality. I know that project writing might sound super boring, but actually it was one of the things I wished to practice during my volunteering- the more you do it, the easier it gets, so I am very happy I was given the opportunity to join. Since January I have been working in a team that manages the selection, promotion and sending of Spanish participants to international projects- something that i wanted to have experience in before coming to do my ESC, so a great opportunity! Together with Ivana we had the chance to go to a local school in Terrassa and share our national fairytales in an English lesson with 6 year old kids- something I would never have dared to do before. I was afraid of the language barrier, but amazingly the kids understood a lot more than we hoped for. I was also super lucky to join a kickoff meeting for a long-term project called InvideogamesJAM. The project is about teaching young people how to create educational virtual reality (and normal computer) games and we will have a few events, one also in Spain, where young people will try to create a game on a given topic. I had the chance to try out a few VR games that have already been created and used in schools- it’s really amazing what technology can do, if you use it smartly. I really look forward to being part of the next steps of this project. The last update on the work part was that this week it was time to host another intercultural meeting (where volunteers from different countries present their culture)- this time Estonia and Germany. So I finally had the chance to introduce the customs and traditions of my culture, which was a lot of fun.

I’ve had the chance to attend many different events that not even many locals have not done. A very big event for me was the carnival- in Estonia we do not have these big events. So I tried to make the most of it by dressing up and seeing the parade in Terrassa but also in SItges. But the coolest thing was that during the funeral of the carnival, thanks to our coordinator, we actually had the chance to participate in the parade, wear the costume and walk through all of it. I also took part in the 8th of March march. This was a truly humbling experience, which really made me reflect on what the womens day should be about. It differentiates a lot from how people “celebrate” the day in the eastern part of Europe. The powerful feeling you get from walking together with people who are reminding and protesting against the injustice that is still here, daily, is really indescribable. In this field, Spain is truly advanced and I hope this mentality will also reach my country soon. Experience-wise me and some other volunteers had our midterm training, which means that all the volunteers in Spain who started more or less at the same time as us gather in a venue and spend a few days together to get to know each other and reflect on our experience. What it means from the perspective of a volunteer- a free trip to somewhere close to Malaga, free accommodation and more importantly, FREE FOOD 3 times a day and the chance to meet other volunteers who can hopefully later host you in different parts of Spain, when you go to travel… so nothing to complain about here. 

Life-wise things have been good. I continue with my dancing hobby by exploring different social parties and meeting new people who share the same passion. I am slowly starting to understand Spanish (not yet speak though), which is a huge improvement for me. This makes things easier and I feel more confident in doing things alone, without needing someone to accompany me just to be a translator. Vibria organized an awesome barbeque for grilling Calçots for all the volunteers, so we got to experience another local tradition. I discovered that quidditch as a sport exists and Barcelona has quite a good team, so I went to a trial practice to play (physically very challenging but for a person who has never enjoyed team sports, it was truly interesting and fun). And during the free time I have had, I have been trying to discover more of Catalunya and take advantage of the free Renfe card. So I have visited Sitges, Vic, Mataro and some hiking trails in the beautiful north of Catalunya. And what is the most strange (and scary)- I am adapting to the mealtimes of Spain- instead of having my dinner the latest at 19:00, I sometimes have it at 21-22. So I am a little bit worried about readaption, when my volunteering ends…

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