When I started to think about what I would like to do, whom I would like to help or be useful and where exactly, I didn’t choose Greece because I knew the country before, oh no! On the contrary! I wanted to discover something totally new!
Before my EVS I was working in the French and German mobility field and with Greece and in ELIX I wanted to discover the mobility in a larger way.
When I arrived in ELIX I got to know all the activities implemented by this NGO and I already had some ideas on what I will work on. My main task in ELIX was to support the placement of international volunteers in the workcamps ELIX organises every year in Greece. I also had the chance to participate myself as a campleader during the month of July. International workcamps are a great tool to create openness and understanding between people from different countries and cultures, through living together for two weeks and living the same unique multicultural experience.
When I heard about the other projects of ELIX that I didn’t know about, I was really happy to see the flexibility of ELIX in letting me taking part in those other projects.
This year a new project was associated to the workcamp: The V.I.P (Volunteering Is Possible). My tasks in this process were to find some people with fewer opportunities and with migration background who would be interested in taking part in a workcamp. For most of them this was something new, some of them could not imagine to live the country alone and go in a place where they would know nobody and be obliged to speak English. We had long hours of interviews, storytelling and supervising in order to make this experience the most unique as it could be for them. The feedback of these youth after their trips were very encouraging to continue to be engaged in project who promote the social inclusion of people with less opportunities.
One of the projects where I worked for was the L.I.P. (Learning for Integration Project) in cooperation with UNICEF. This project aims to provide non-formal-education and homework support to refugees and migrants children, as well as their parents in order to contribute to their integration in the formal education system. When I started to help the Greek and English teachers there, I couldn’t imagine that I would follow these people for a yearlong and see how much everybody would do such a progress. I was mainly working with kids from 5 to 9 years old. When I arrived, they just started to learn Greek so I thought that it would a great opportunity for me to start with them. It was a great pleasure for me to assist in the daily progress of those children who had a lot of energy and could adapt very easily.
In the end it was very touching for me to see that we made the steps of learning the Greek language together and that now we were able to communicate in a common language what was not possible in the beginning.
I am very thankful to ELIX who allowed me to be part of this project. I learned a lot about pedagogy, the teachers with whom I worked with where really open and let me achieve some activities with the children.
I also had the chance to be part, to help and to train in different seminars, youth exchanges and Workcamps: this was a proof for that ELIX trusted me and let me the space to show what I could bring from my past experiences.
Concerning the daily life I have to admit that everything was not easy in the beginning! You need to make some new friends, discover the new culture and try to adapt to it, you have to deal with a new language… and this is why I am so happy to had the opportunity to stay for one year. In one year you really have the time and the chance to discover, to adapt, to enjoy as much as you want and to live a great experience!
I loved to experience the way of life of Greek people. This one is a very special one and a very lovely one. People are so welcoming and willing to show you their way of life in a funny way. I think that in the end of my EVS I started to have a Greek behaviour if I could say that.
I had the chance to have some Greeks lessons who helped me to start to learn some basics in Greek language and be able to communicate with the local community. This is was very important for me also in order to feel more comfortable in my daily life.
The most important for me was to discover a lot about myself. I improved my English and my communication skills. I can also say that I am more tolerant and open minded. This EVS experience was very strong for me and I try now to promote it as much as I can in order to give to other people the same chance to make new experiences.
What about the future? I am back in Germany but I will not forget Greece, it’s impossible! Currently I'm still learning Greek in Berlin and I want do reach the B2 level. I have also planned my next trip to Greece and some friends of mine will visit me in some weeks. This EVS is not just a period of my life but an experience who affected my all life and I am very thankful for it! Who knows I could come back!
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