- 10 October 2017
- Posted by: Team for Youth Association
- Category: Volunteering Stories
A week is not a very long time, if you look at it from an objective point of view. But a lot of things can happen in just one week. My first week as an EVS volunteer in Baia Mare was one of those weeks that are just really full of new experiences and impressions. In less than a week, the way I live, work and learn has changed completely.
Back in Vienna, everything was familiar: I knew exactly where in the supermarket I could find my favourite brand of tea, which bus to take (and if it was faster to walk or to take the bus), when to leave my flat in order to be on time for my university classes, which shortcut to take so I could pass by the supermarket for something to drink, where the best library spots to do my work were, and which places my friends liked to meet up. This is different now that I just arrived in Romania: the supermarket seems like a maze and I need google translate open on my phone in order to find everything I need, where the different bus lines go is a mystery to me, I have to leave early just in case I can’t find my way immediately and I’m not even thinking about taking shortcuts.
I have to find out how the everything at Team for Youth works and to find my place in the team, and I don’t yet know which places are the best to get food, coffee, or drinks.
But don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying all of this! It really is more exciting than scary. Getting out of my familiar environment gives me the chance to find a new favorite brand of tea, to get lost and discover new things on the way, to take on all the challenges volunteering work here includes and learn from them, and find out a lot about life in Romania. The good thing about doing all of this within the frame of EVS is that you’re not really alone with all of those new impressions. Apart from the formal structure, you have your fellow volunteers who have been a great support for me throughout this first week. From the first day, I felt welcomed in the team, and that makes everything else so much easier. Not only are they helping me to figure out my tasks at the office and for the activities, but they are also lovely enough to help me adjust to life in Baia Mare. They showed me the area, tell me where in the supermarket I can find that one thing that just didn’t want to be found, and they take me to their favorite places in town.
And then, slowly, the first signs of acclimatization and successful adaptation start to show: With the help of a local volunteer I order my first bus tickets in Romanian, I overhear a conversation and understand some words, I remember where in the supermarket I can get pasta, I turn around a corner and recognize the street I’m now on. In those moments I know that even though everything is different, it has the potential to become just as familiar as the way I used to live just a week ago. I know that next months will be just as full of new experiences as this week has been, and I am looking forward to it all!
Sarah (Austria) is 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.