EVS Stories: The Beginning (I) – by Juste and Skaiste

Juste and Skaiste are 2 volunteers who just started their international volunteering experience. They decided to share some early input on their first week of living and volunteering in Baia Mare.

About us:

Hi! My name is Juste and I’m from Lithuania. I am as a volunteer in Baia Mare from the 1st of April (and it’s not a joke) at IN4EVS project. I had opportunities to choose volunteering projects in Romania, Sweden, Poland, and Iceland. As you see I am here because for me Romania looked like undiscovered, unfamiliar and somehow exotic region. I had been as a volunteer for 6 year in Lithuania. I made a lot of events for old people to show them that life is not ending when you are getting older. And last half an year I was teaching children how to program LEGO robots. For me it was priceless experience!  I am always looking for challenges for me to go out from my comfort zone. In my opinion, very important to get and to share your experiences because then your inside is growing up. There are no bad or good things it’s just experience and you decide how it will change you. I suggest to live now and here because yesterday had already past and we never know tomorrow comes or not.

Hi! My name is Skaiste! I always wanted to get to know the world. And for me international volunteering is the best way to make it happen, because you can explore the world in many ways: doing activities you may never do in any other case, meeting new people, travelling in your spare time.

The travel:

My first impression about Romania is that people here are very honest, hearty and open. For example, on first days I was lost in streets and one Romanian guy helped me to find the right way. He spent half an hour to escort me at home. After two days in Baia Mare I get acquainted with my neighbors. They are professional musicians and play accordions. They invited me to theirs concert. The 8th of April I was in international gypsy day in Baia Mare. I really liked it because of the music. It reminded me Lithuanians’ weddings 10 years before.

Although I am a person who wants to have her life planned, I must admit, I like the way it goes, while I am waiting for the studies of my dreams, without knowing when exactly it will be arranged. My previous experience of internship in Spain was really cool, but as I only had an opportunity to stay there 6 months and I didn’t want the fairy tale to end, I decided to continue it volunteering in Romania. I have heard a lot of doubts before coming to Romania, such as why Romania? It’s such a poor and dangerous country! There is nothing to see there! What will you do there surrounded by gypsies? But I was sure that most of them are not true and that’s why I wanted to explore the country by myself. And I am glad I made this decision, because the stereotypes are already broken. I realized, that Romania is a nice ”cheap” country with a lot of stuff to see and friendly, helpful people. It’s almost heaven! One more reason to think it is heaven was a challenging trip I had to make in order to get here. It took me two planes, seven hours of waiting at the airport, three hours by bus sixteen hours on the way in total. But being such a crazy person about new experiences and travelling as I am, I have no doubt it was worth it and I would repeat it in a minute. The thing I did have a doubt about, as a person, who have spent the best years of her life so far in Vilnius and Madrid, Lithuanian and Spanish capital cities, was living in some place, which was not a capital city and was far away from it. And going here so many hours I had a feeling that I was going to the middle of nowhere.

So far:

I have already made some friends of other volunteers. We are so different but we have the same aims: to explore world, to know more other cultures, to destroy stereotypes, to find ourselves, to improve languages skills.  I know it will be a lot of challenges to be as volunteer, good and bad days but it’s my story and I’m continuing it here. Be honest, I feel like at home in Baia Mare after one week. I like Romania and I hope Romania will like me too. 

Although I am here only for approximately two weeks so far, I can say for sure that this first impression of mine was also wrong, because as I found out and already experienced, there are a lot of interesting activities in Baia Mare: from local gypsies shows to countries presentations made by volunteers of Team for Youth, as one about Lublin, made by Joana, a nice volunteer from Poland, who, sadly, left Romania today. And, I believe, there will be even more activities in the future, because Baia Mare is an ambitious city, which seeks for big things to happen in it, such as to become European Capital of Culture. And this amazing city almost did it, because it was on the short list to become it on 2021. Although it didn’t make it this time, I’m sure that in the future it definitely will, because the one, who really wants and seeks for something will achieve it one day for sure.

The future:

If you are vegetarian, have a husband/ wife and cat, you are doing some kind of sport, and still don’t know what to boost to your friends, just be a volunteer!

And now it’s about time for youngsters of Baia Mare to grain some international experience in order to come back later and applying it to make Baıa Mare even a greater place. And I am here for that and I will stay for eight months to do activities and to tell you about them, trying to encourage everyone here and not only here for volunteering. And I am glad that I will do it as a member of a great international In for EVS team: Juste, another Lithuanian girl, Inma from Spain, Wolfram from Germany, Rosa from Austria. And we are still waiting impatiently for two people from Czech Republic on May to join us and one person from Spain, who’s place is still vacant, so, if you got interested in the project, have no plans for the next eight months, including April and you are from Spain, contact us and become a member of our team! It will be a great adventure, composed of small everyday adventures! And for one of them we are leaving tomorrow: Easter holidays in Budapest – sounds as a good plan, doesn’t it? If you got interested and you want to join us in small and big everyday adventures – you are welcome and if you can’t and just dream about it, dream and live it with us, reading our blog. We will come back soon with our impressions from Budapest! 

Skaiste și Juste (Lituania) are hosted in Baia Mare by Team for Youth Association, in the “IN4EVS” project, an European Voluntary Service financed by the European Commission through the Erasmus Plus Program.