Jeste li znali da u susjednom nam gradu Lepoglavi, već gotovo deset mjeseci živi i radi mladić s malteškom putovnicom? Njegovo ime je Abraham Azzopardi, a ugostila ga je lokalna Nezavisna udruga mladih (NUM), čiji su članovi/ce prepoznali svoj potencijal za mentorstvo mladih u područjima kojima se udruga bavi već 14 godina. Jednako tako, prepoznali su priliku da u svojoj lokalnoj zajednici na taj način razvijaju ozračje tolerancije te suzbijaju predrasude i stereotipe. Upravo su tome usmjereni programi mobilnosti Europske unije, a s izbijanjem migracijske krize svima je postalo jasno i zašto. Prošlog smo tjedna dojmove o EVS iskustvu slušali na prezentaciji u Novom Marofu, gdje je lokalna udruga Mladi za Marof ugostila volontera Abrahama te njegove domaćine iz lepoglavskog NUM-a. Da bismo vam prenijeli što širu priču oko EVS-a te vas možda i zainteresirali za daljnje istraživanje, odlučili smo odraditi kratak intervju s Abrahamom, kao najavu za prezentaciju u Varaždinu čiji točan termin još dogovaramo.
Za početak, EVS (ilitiga Europska volonterska služba) program Europske unije koji omogućuje mladima (u dobi od 17 do 30 godina) da odaberu područje interesa te u svrhu stjecanja praktičnih znanja i vještina, žive i rade (volontiraju) u stranoj zemlji u trajanju od dva tjedna do čak godine dana? Za cijelo to vrijeme volonteru su pokriveni troškovi smještaja, hrane, osiguranja i lokalnog prijevoza te po potrebi i određenog iznosa džeparca. Većina vas vrlo vjerojatno nije i ne poznaje nikog tko je koristio spomenuti program, što nažalost vjerojatno umanjuje mogućnost da se sami prijavite te ste se vjerojatno već pomorili sa borbom za opstanak u surovoj hrvatskoj realnosti. No, mi za vas želimo mnogo više pa smo odlučili okvirno vas informirati i usmjeriti na konkretne izvore (kliknite na poveznicu na riječi EVS iznad), a stvarne uvjete korištenja EVS programa doznati iz prakse. Abraham nam je zato odgovorio na nekoliko pitanja 🙂
VAKUUM: Can you tell us something about your personal and profesionaln background?
So, I am Abraham Azzopardi (25) from Malta. I have finished university studying as a nurse and worked in the main hospital In Malta. However I have also been interested and actively working with youth organizations. I like to try and experience new things and that is why I like travelling.
VAKUUM: How long have you been in Croatia on the EVS programe until now, how did you find out about the possibilities offered by EVS programme, and how come you’ve decided to apply?
I have been in Croatia for 9 months now already, from the 1st of September 2015. I got to know about the EVS programme thanks to information I received, while I was on other opportunities offered by Youth in Action in the past and Erasmus + now. In these various experiences I have always heard about what is EVS and the benefits that it provides to the people who do it.
After some years attending to youth exchanges and training courses, I decided that I want to be more informed and practice how to plan, write and implement a project. This was the time when I decided that I should apply for my EVS.
VAKUUM: Have you been preparing to go to Croatia and how? Have you felt some fear before leaving Malta?
Before leaving I had to work to save some money for my 10 months. However, apart from the financial preparation, I had a small, informative training by my sending NGO in Malta. This was essential as it prepared me to what challenges I might be facing in my new experience. Apart from this, I also had the support and advices from NUM which is the organization I am doing my EVS with.
As it was not the first time for me to leave Malta for some months, I was prepared to what I would be feeling. However this did not stop me from having mixed feelings on the day of departure. One part of me was saying “why do you have to do this”, while other part was saying “come one, keep going, do not stop now and ruin everything”.
VAKUUM: What would you sign out as a significant difference of life in Croatia and Malta?
The lifestyle here and in Malta is different. Although we are hardworking people, we are also relaxed and do not really care about time. In Malta it’s ok for me to be 15 or even 30 minutes late, however here it’s impolite to do so.
The weather here is much more different. It can rain for days or it can rain just for 5 minutes and then it’s sunny again. I am not used to so much rain and also to so much change in temperatures. It can be 25 during the day and go to 10 during the night, my body had to adapt to those changes.
One main difference is the level of alcohol consumed. It’s like here people are inventing occasions were they can go out and drink. On the other hand in Malta we drink more on weekends and when we drink we usually head down to clubs and party places, while people here drink, drink, drink and just drink more and then sleep.
VAKUUM: Do you think it did and what ways did your participation in the EVS programme improved your personal and / or professional skills?
They say that EVS changes people. I did not understand why before, but now I can say that it really does. The change came slowly, without me even releasing that. From the professional level, it helped me to become better in project management, which is what my aim of this EVS was. From that part I can say that I’ve really developed. Apart from this I also developed my organizational and management skills as I was helping in the organization of stuff(events and activites) for NUM.
On the personal level, it helped me become more independent and capable of living on my own, while managing to be able to live on a restricted budget. This experience helped me to grow and mature, making me a more independent person.
VAKUUM: Which are the best and the worst experiences / memories that you will take from Croatia?
There were various memories that I will treasure from my EVS, however, one of the best experiences that I will sure treasure is the fact that I saw that there was no real place to party and have fun in Lepoglava. Thus, we decided to create one by ourselves and we turned one room into our “ own bar”. This was a great experience starting from the work it took to arrange everything to the hours of parties and fun we had there.
On the other hand, although I do not prefer to take bad memories with me from Croatia, one bad experience was when the other volunteer that was doing EVS with me left. I ended up all alone which is not the best of feelings. However these unexpected situations, are the things that help the person build his/her character more.
VAKUUM: What are in your opinion, characteristics of a person who wants to apply and successfully finish his/her EVS exchange?
A person going for EVS can be anyone, however they have to be ready to:
- Adapt easily in new environments,
- Be adventurous and try new things and testing their limits,
- Be respectful towards other cultures and people with different beliefs.
VAKUUM: What would you especially recommended to young people who wish to apply for EVS exchange?
The person should:
- Chose something he/she likes doing,
- Chose an organization according to what he/she wants to do, not according to the country,
- Make some research on the organization they will work in. If you know the people in the organization, its better,
- Know all their rights, so that they will not be cheated,
- Be prepared that what is presented to them as their job and what their real job will be in the end may differ,
- They have to be creative and adapt,
- Sign all agreements especially about money before you go for EVS .
VAKUUM: How much time is left util the end of your EVS experience, how will you spend it and what are your plans for the future (after returning to Malta)?
Its only few days till my EVS is over. In these last few days I have to work more, run a youth exchange project, show my parents around as they are visiting Croatia and eat and drink as much as I can from bambus, gamixt, cevapcici, lepinja, ajvar, xtrukli, burek, pelinkovac, ozujsko and all the other Croatian foods and drinks.
Once back in Malta I have to continue my job, however I will continue working with local organizations to transfer what I’ve learned to the benefit of the people in Malta.
Dakle, EVS iskustvo za volontera je točno onakvo kakvim ga je sam spreman učiniti i doživjeti. Abraham je odlučio da mu lepoglavsko iskustvo bude izazov i prilika da razvije svoje profesionalne vještine, a život u malom mjestu u varaždinskom kraju ga je naučio da postoji još niz osobina koje je kao čovjek imao prilike razviti. Na temelju njegovih iskustava nastao je i kratak video 🙂
Posljednjih ćemo ga dana njegova boravka u Varaždinu dovesti da nam svoje iskustvo prezentira i uživo, u prostoru našeg VAKUUM kluba. Vidimo se!