07 February 2017

Cristina's experience: EVS in Portugal

”My dear all, 
I am doing my EVS in Portugal, I’ve just started my 6th month of volunteering in Aveiro-Ilhavo. I would really like to share a bit of my wonderful experience”, Cristina Burduja.  

First of all, I am working at a kindergarten - Maternura, in an absolutely friendly and nice environment, the children are super lovely and sweet, the educators are very skilled and helpful, and the most important is that the place is always full of love. Fortunately, I am not alone, we are two volunteers, Martina, from Hungary- an incredibly wonderful person. There is also our coordinator, which is the best coordinator ever, I couldn’t possibly wish for more. She is a super intelligent woman, a loving and lovely wife, and simply a fantastic person. The director of Maternura is also a very kind and sensitive woman, that always shines with her positive attitude towards everything. All these things are the pillars that keep our experience unforgettable. 

Of course, EVS is not only about the workplace, it is also about the country, the culture, the people you meet, the places you visit, the friends you make and the experience you gain in all the possible ways. So, personally, I’m trying to experience everything and to take the most from this project, for example, this month I went to a capoeira class for the first time, which made me feel so excited and willing to practice it more and more. Also, here in Portugal, I’ve experienced for the first time in my life the mountaineering (alpinism) – an amazing kind of sport that takes the breath away (literally). It was here the first time I went to a completely empty, wild beach of the Atlantic ocean, and had a 2people party (me and Martina) admiring the restless waves and wondering of how unlimited this world can possibly be. It happened here for me to understand the importance of the pre-school education and the principle of free child now – happy adults after. Furthermore, here I got to realize how colorful and full of opportunities the life can be. Even if I knew it before, this time it appeared to be even brighter. 

Another important aspect for me is the social life in Aveiro. Doubtlessly, it was quite difficult for me to understand how this Portuguese mentality works, how do people make new friends. I thought it was me who had communicative difficulties, but later I understood that it is all about time, they simply need more time to get to know a new person, especially when you are an Eastern European. We (me and Martina) are also trying to cheer up this small, cute city by organizing weekly the event Language Exchange Meetings in a public bar in the centre of Aveiro, where everybody can join us and learn a new language and get to know new people and cultures, or at least to spend a nice evening out with lovely, interesting people. By this time, I am already fluent in Portuguese, something that is really important when you are abroad- speaking the same language with locals. Summing up the above mentioned things, apparently we are having the time of our life during the EVS in Portugal. For me is a really wonderful experience in terms of self development, self confidence, spiritual growth and emotional intelligence.