On the edge of the comfort zone: the first impression
Post # 1 – “Light Up Entrepreneurship”
Hello everyone, my name is Avto and I am a new EVS volunteer of the “Ticket2Europe”, a youth organisation based in Pontevedra, Spain. I will spent whole year here,facing my first experience of living on my own such far away from my homeland,Georgia – for sure this period will be life-changing for me.
For me volunteering is not something new, due to the fact that I spent my last 2 years being a part of the youth association in Georgia, participating in projects on local and international level. I also traveled quite often in this period and felt ready for such a big step as EVS. For those who are not familiar with EVS (now ESC), it is a project type in the Erasmus+ program funded by the European Commission which allows individuals until 30 years old to go up to one year in another country to volunteer in an organization.
So when this opportunity appeared I decided to grab it, as in my perspective EVS is a kind of a challenge- first of all towards your own abilities! For those who would like to take this step, I want to give my personal advice – travelling abroad and living is a totally different dimensions. It doesn’t matter even if u are an experienced traveler, living in a foreign country is a life from the scratch.
The first week was really tough for me- it’s felt like a point of no return: there was your life you are used to, where everything was clear more or less, where you knew how to act and deal with certain everyday situations and now you are here. And you thought that will be easy? You only realize the whole situation when you are going through it and here comes the moment of self-reflection – open up for a change or close within yourself. Even shopping became an exploration. The big deal is the language difference, the inability to express yourself makes you feel isolated and lonely. You feel that you are the only one in this boat, but lets ask a question – is that really true? The reality is that everything comes from your mind and attitude.
Now it’s already 2 weeks past since my arrival and meeting new people and exploring my new environment really helped me as I feel much better now and open for changes. Of course communication in Spanish is still a “struggle” for me, but anyway you can express yourself with gestures or use smart digital tools for translation. I already started language classes and hopefully moving forward, as you would say in Spanish “paso a paso”. I am still getting used to Pontevedra as in comparison to my city Tbilisi it is quite small and quiet, but on the other hand its really nice that you can get anyway across city centre by foot!
The thing that I learned so far is to open up and ask for help when its needed, because people are more willing to help you than you may think – don’t feel uncomfortable to talk to people you freshly meet. Do not be afraid of changes-if you are trying something new, than you are moving forward.