My name is Hatice Sarı. I’m 23 years old and I’m from Turkey. In 2017, I finished bachelor’s degree then started the work an export-import company. Suddenly, I decided to do the European Voluntary Service. And I came in Lithuania for long term, from October 2018 until September 2019. I’m working Atviras Jaunimo Centras as a Mobile Youth Worker in different 9 villages around the town Telsiai.
Firstly, I’m so happy for choosing Lithuania. This country has a great nature, kind people, delicious food especially chocolate J When I came here on October, ıt was so diffucult to adapt for me. However, I have a friendly flat mate from Georgia. She helped me about everything so I’m feeling lucky. After I learned some basic things, I realized everybody speak Lithuanian. I didn’t find a person who speak English. I said to myself, you have to learn this language. After 3 months, I can speak a little bit Lithuanian, like a child. In my opinion, this language is so hard!
Actually I live a small town in the western part of the Turkey. My town has usually hot weather. I came here and the weather: OMG! It was pretty cold for me. Everyday I say: please sunshine. Actually, winter time Telsiai has an amazing nature. Forest, lake and everywhere is white. It looks like a wonderland. But cold L I’m feeling so lucky because during my volunteering times I’ll see all season in here. To be honest I am looking forward to see Lithuanian spring.
Almost one month after I came here, I had my on-arrival training at Trakai. I met lots of volunteers with different back ground, nationalities and countries. I participiated in a efficient in Trakai. And I was informed about other cities, had volunteer friends in different cities to host me. Even, I visited to Vilnius, Kaunas, Klapedia, Trakai since October. Now, we are on January and I have too much time for other things. I’ll go mid-term training and waiting impatiently.
I gained lots of new experiences. For example, I celebrated Christmas for the first time, I had my first tattoo in my life. For the first time, I walked on the frozen lake and I will enter my new age in a new country. This time is a challenge for me because without family and friends, I’m living completely different culture. EVS is the best experince in my life. I really enjoy my job, especially youngsters from villages. Sometimes they try to teach me Lithuanian. Sometimes I try to teach them Turkish and English. We teach each other good and useful things with young people.
I think following months will be filled with new excitements, experiences, adventures and activities. After all these, when my project is over, I will rewrite this text. Thanks for everything.
The Magic Happens When You Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Starting is always little bit difficult… Lots of thoughts are changing each other… Going forward and backward… Also I’m better in speaking than writing, but this time I’ll try to express my feeling and emotions about Lithuania(Lietuva) and EVS during these (almost) two months in Telšiai.
I’m Nana Khunchukashvili, 29 years old from the country Georgia (საქართველო), volunteering in Telšiai Youth Center. Arrived in September and gonna stay here 10 more months. First time was quite strange for me. Living alone in new unusual situation – people - I didn’t know, language – I didn’t understand. But That's why EVS is the way interesting and attractive – it gives you opportunity to try new life and experience yourself, find out more about ongoing things from the other side as well.
People all the time ask me why I decided to participate EVS, so here’s my answer – ‘’If we are not a little bit uncomfortable every day, we aren’t growing. All the good stuff is outside our comfort zone’’(J. Canfield).
During these two months I meet lot of youngsters and below I’ll answer more popular questions such as why Lithuania, what I think about local people, language and how much I like Telšiai, if I’m boried here. Ok, here we go…
why Lithuania – why any other countries and not Lithuania? I think this country is exactly right for me and from the very first minute in Vilnius and Telšiai I realized it’s one of the correct decisions I’ve made before.
People – In my opinion people are not cold, just they need time to impress their feelings. Somehow they remind my people, so friendly, hospitable and helpful – always ready to support, sometimes communication is possible even without a common language. It’s proofed even with that sudden exciting surprise – symbolic huge apple gift (I’d never forget).
I just wish the youngsters express their readiness of interactive conversation in English to improve speaking skills.
I especially want to point out about my colleagues – extremely friendly and positive people. Working with them is a holiday for me!
– when I arrived here, I didn’t know Lithuanian at all, but youngsters and friends always help me to study language, also I used my available free time and now I can identify the contents of the ongoing conversation. My vocabulary is pretty ok for this time and it’s a huge motivation for me when I’m able to understand the questions and answer them without translation ☺
What about Telšiai? – in these two months I visited Vilnius, Kaunas, Trakai, Palanga, but hundred percent sure Telšiai is the best. Four days attending on-arrival training in Trakai I realized how much I missed this city and was so happy when I got back. The landscape and the lake is perfect totake a short walk and relax. My hoby is photography, so I joined Telšē šindėin (foto klubs) and enjoy life here, never bored. I’ve got amazing friends here and sometimes it’s just enough to watch movies and have time with them and I feel happy.
P.S modification of the famous quote: ‘’East or west (home) Telšiai is the best’’.
P.S P.S And of course BC Žalgiris is the best team ever!
Labas, my name is Mara Cremann, I am 19 years old and I am from Germany.
I was volunteering for six months in Telšiai, a small town in Lithuania in the youth center and I really enjoyed it.
I was searching on the Internet for many places to make a volunteer service but as I only had time for six months, it was really hard to find a project. I asked my sending organization for help and they gave me the number of Saulena, the leader of the youth center and this project in Telšiai. We had long conversations on the phone and we understood each other very well but she needed somebody for a longer time, so I ended up with the idea of doing a volunteer service. After a few months in December 2017 I got a message from her on Facebook and she asked me if I was still interested in doing this project because the other person that must have come disappeared and didn’t answer anymore. Therefore, I made a fast decision to get new experiences in a country I had never thought before and I didn’t know anything about it.
I came here in January while it was starting to get very cold and I am going home back at the beginning of August while it is very hot. The temperature had a difference from -28 degrees in winter to +35 degrees in summer this year. But I enjoyed both sides of this weather at its best, e.g. skiing in winter and swimming in the lakes in summer.
My start here was quite nice because I had a German flat mate who showed me some things at the beginning but later I made my own way. I got to know the youth in the youth center and although I didn’t understand a word, with help of facial expressions and gesturing I made some friendships. In winter it was quite easy because the youth used the youth center as a hideaway of the cold weather, so there were about 15-20 young people between 14-29 years old and everybody with his own story. But in summer the youth center was empty. They were hanging around the lake or working a summer job, so for me it was boring because I had nothing to do.
After two weeks of being here I had my on-arrival training and I fully enjoyed it because I met a lot of very nice people and had a useful program about the EVS (European volunteer service) there. The “problem” was that all the people there came from Vilnius, so I just had the connection to volunteers from the capital and had an opportunity after training to go to one of the volunteers in Vilnius. I got to know a bigger community and after a few weeks and months the community was growing and growing because of travelling, going to the parties and meeting friends of the volunteers. I have never met so many nice people that are good friends for me now in such a short time and I am really thankful for this.
As Telšiai is a small town, I spent my weekends most of the time in bigger cities to meet my friends and to travel around. During the week I was working in the youth center, joining the volleyball team of the gymnasium, doing yoga in a Lithuanian group with a Lithuanian teacher, playing basketball till the late evening with my youth and of course doing the household chores.
In February my Lithuanian course started and lasted for four months twice a week. I already knew some words from my youth but to learn the language with grammatical stuff, the tenses, building up the vocabulary, forming the sentences and getting knowledge was a hard way and not completely successful. But I quite fast caught the topic people were talking about and I was able to develop the context to that.
Even without knowing the language well, I got to know a lot of Lithuanian people. I joined four camps from the youth center where I found out a lot about the Lithuanian culture and where I also learned to step out of my comfort zone while talking with new people, joining a ropes course and doing energizer games with the group.
I gained a lot of new experiences and I had to take a lot of challenges but with help of my totally friendly and lovely colleagues and friends I made my way through it. I think I could not have found a better place to do my volunteer service. I spent several months somewhere where not many people had been travelling before. But I can really recommend to travelers to put this country on their travel list. Lithuania with just 3 million inhabitants is a very small country but every Lithuanian is proud to live here. They fought a lot for their independence and they are doing everything to keep this. I took part in the celebration of the centenary of Lithuania in Vilnius and I felt the pride in Lithuanians’ voices while singing all together and as I know every quarter of the year they all stand up and sing their anthem. You have to see this with your own eyes and feel this with your whole body.
I showed my guests (family and friends from home) the things that made Lithuania special for me. A lot of beautiful nature, nice places to stay; the places I was feeling like at home (my working place, my flat, my living town, the town where my volunteer friends lived) and of course lovely people that were around me all my EVS.
I learned a lot about myself, I grew up personally and I made invaluable experience in a foreign country, which will be of great importance starting my working career.
Thanks to all the people that supported me these six months, let me feel comfortable and get the experience very important to me.
My name is Milan, 20 years old, from Germany. After graduating school in 2017 I decided to do the European Voluntary Service in Lithuania for nine months, from October 2017 until June 2018. I worked as a mobile youth worker in some places around the town Telšiai. I learned Lithuanian language with a teacher for four months, I taught German language to a student, went to the German club which meets monthly, got piano lessons, went to the football trainings of the local football club and spent the evenings with the young people of the villages.
I came here without knowing any Lithuanian language except of “Labas!“ which means “Hello!“. On my first day at the youth center I consequently did not understand much, actually almost nothing. The people were talking something which just sounded strange but did not deliver any sense to me. In the third week of my EVS, after two weeks in Telšiai, the On-Arrival training took place in Trakai where I got to know other volunteers. That was such a great week there; I had never met people from so many countries before within four days. The October was all in all quite an exciting month as everything was new and unfamiliar for me.
As October, November and December passed by very quickly as well. It became darker and darker, the days became shorter and shorter in Lithuania. The weather was not a pleasure for me and, of course, I had big difficulties with the language, but even though I felt comfortable here. In some villages I had already a familiar relationship with young people and Christmas was coming when I was going to go home for two weeks. Furthermore, I visited other volunteers in Kaunas and Vilnius on two weekends in November.
My parents brought me back here by car in the beginning of January and when they left me I felt as lonely as I never felt before in my live. During that month my energy level and my motivation was quite low. I did not enjoy working with the youth in the most places. I was frustrated concerning my language still as I still understood very little Lithuanian. So working basically meant to me to play table and card games without understanding conservations going on around me. Even though, I will probably always remember working in one special place at this time: In the small town as the residents say - I actually felt there like being in a village - called Tryškiai we used to come into a room in which it was even colder than outside. So we made fire and stood near the fireplace, because sitting there would have been too cold. Until the time the fire was not warming up it was necessary to move.
The winter lasted long. In March it was still cold here and we had snow on Eastern what I do not know from Germany.
Finally, in April it became very sunny and in May warmer so that we could spend many evenings with the youth outside. From April on I enjoyed my work much more; not only because our activities were becoming more diversified, as we played volleyball or went to lakes or hills too frie saussages on the fire, but also because I already understood quite much of the language. Every afternoon when I used to walk home from the youth center for my eat break I almost every day saw people in the street I knew; very often youngsters from the villages.
Now I come to the end of the time here in Lithuania and I am looking forward to going back to Germany because it will be quite interesting how I will feel in that society and in my daily life. But on the other hand I will also miss my co-workers and the young people. I will also miss playing the piano here and I will miss the small town Telšiai even though there was a time I disliked this place because of its size and distance to the cities which are home to more volunteers and actually I never felt in love with this town to be honest.
My name is Milan. I am the new volunteer from Germany at the youth center of Telsiai and I am going to stay and work here as a mobile youth worker for around 10 months.
Now I am here for more than one month. Time passed very quickly. I mostly enjoyed my adventure. Only seldomly it was boring here. I got to know new places and new people. I feel at home now, even if I still understand little Lithuanian (only a few phrases, sometimes topics). This circumstance makes me sometimes feel bored in the evening when we are usually to villages. But I enjoy activities such as playing games or preparing meals.
Something that makes feel at ease here, is that I can always ask my coworkers for help, e.g. for buying train tickets to visit other volunteers.
Furthermore, I already made some very special experiences such as an around 30 km hike to a sauna at night. But the highlight of my EVS in Lithuania was definetly the On-Arrival-Seminar in October when I got to know many other voluteers form all over Europe. Thanks to this, I was and will keep on visiting them. That way, I can see various places of the country.
Moreover, I enjoy participating in football training sessions and having the opportunity to play the piano.
I hope that I will improve my language skills for the future to be able to enjoy better.
My final project to remember :)
2017 06 02
It is the 2nd of june now that I am writing this and just today I finished my project. It was very interesting project, I made two shelves out of wood from start to finish. One shelf is for boardgames and the other one is for coffee cups etc.
I started the project somewhere around april when I was going to sleep and I was thinking about how am I going to do two shelves. I dont have any experience in making furniture but I am familiar working with wood. Just right before I fell asleep I had this vision in my head on how the shelves will be done, next day at work I took pencil and paper and wrote down what I need and made a faint drawing of how it will look.
About in the middle of may we went to the shop and bought the resources we needed according to my calculations, well my calculations were wrong pretty much each time so we visited the shop plenty of times. We began to work on the shelves 18th of may and on that day we already found out that it will not be easy to make these shelves since we had no electrical equipment so we had to do pretty much everything by our own little hands. But the weather was always pleasant when we were working and Inga prepared hot potatoes or sausages each time to keep our motivation up. 31st of may we brought the shelf pieces to youth center where we would assemble and paint them. Assembling and painting was done 1st of june and today 2nd of june me and Avto brought them to where they belong and attached them to walls. I am very happy of the result, the shelves are much better than what I expected.
Many people say good planning is the key to everything but I think in this case patience, positive attitude and supportive feedback was the best asset I had, but the most important help I had came from all the people who were helping me throughout the project. So huge thanks to everyone who was participating in the project wether you were just eating hot potatoes or not, it was nice to have you all as company. I really enjoyed everyones company during the process, it is a shame I can only enjoy your company only for one more month, so feel free to come and see the end result of our work and play some games with me at the youth center.
Christmas and midterm in Lithuania
2017 03 13
Hello to everybody, I have not written anything for a long time, but now felt myself somehow inspired and will tell you how my volunteering life is going…
Well… After November a lot of things happened, I will try to tell about some of them. In the middle of December I took some small Christmas holidays and visited Georgia. I had plenty of mixed feelings and thoughts when I was walking again on the streets where I grew up, was speaking with my family face to face again, but mostly those feelings were positive. One week flew like one minute and I came back again, Lithuania was preparing to celebrate Christmas, and I found myself very excited when got offer to spend Christmas time in traditional Lithuanian family. It was really interesting and impressive cultural experience. I took part in preparation of traditional Christmas food, and felt whole mystics of real historical and traditional Christmas eve.
After Christmas came time for my travel, visiting different countries is one of the most attractive opportunities that EVS project can offer to volunteers. During winter period I visited such amazing cities like Warsaw and Tallinn, and came back to Telšiai with unforgettable impressions.
In February I got invitation on Midterm meeting of EVS volunteers, of course I was very happy as because of some reasons I did not have on arrival, really wanted to get to know with more people from different countries who were volunteering in Lithuania. In fact on arrival appeared even more interesting than I expected, very friendly group, amazing leaders, comfortable environment and good planned program, gifted me the week of nice and useful time where I knew many things and meet with a lot of new and interesting people.
Now I am expecting for Lithuanian spring and feel myself again motivated and full of enthusiasm…
Here I am
2017 03 06
So it is finally time to write something here, most of you already know who I am and what I am doing here but for those who dont know here is a little introduction.
My name is Aleksi Ollonen, I am a youth worker from Finland. I come from the northern part of Finland, from a small village called Pello. I am 22 years old now, my hobbies are frisbeegolf, hunting, skeet-shooting and computer games.
The most common question I've had in Lithuania is why did you come to Lithuania or why did you choose Lithuania as your volunteering country so I'll give you a small answer.One beautiful morning in Rovaniemi I woke up and checked my phone for emails, this newsletter from Rovaniemi youth center caught my eye. I read through the post which informed that they need someone who wants to go to Lithuania as a volunteer. I had nothing to do in Finland at given time so I decided that I should grab the opportunity and roughly three months later I was in Lithuania. What was my motivation to come to Lithuania? Well as I said, I am a youth worker so I saw this opportunity as work experience that I could use when I come back to Finland.
The past eight months here has been great. I have done things that I would've never done otherwise, learnt new ways of doing youth work, expanded my worldview in some ways and I have grown to like Lithuania.
I have nothing else to say at this time but feel free to come and ask something from me in the youth centre if you wanna know more.
Georgian evenings in Samogitia
2016 11 11
Labas visiems! Cold November started in Telšiai. I can even say that for me this is already winter, but as psychologically I was ready for it, I even enjoy the weather...
Today I‘d like to tell you about how I have been doing since last time.
Well, passed already more than four months since I‘m here, and with support of our youth workers I decided to organize Georgian evenings in those villages and towns where mobile youth working visites daily. Despite the fact that I have organized Georgian evenings even before I had some worries, about how the youngsters will accept my presentation and how interesting it can be for them, so I tried not to speak long and give them the main informations about my country, show them pretty places and be interesting, and I think I achieved my goals, at least almost after every presentation were some questions and expressions of interests, I crashed some stereotypes among youngsters about Georgia as some of them had not correct imaginations. In one of the towns youngsters became so interested in Georgian national dish „Khachapuri“ that during next meeting I prepared for them, the youngsters were participating in preparation and it was quite interesting. But of course the most interesting moment for everybody was degustation, as I am also not very experienced „Khachapuri“ maker I was worrying how they will like it and fortunately everything went well.
Till now my EVS time in Telšiai becomes more interesting and pleasant, let‘s see what will be in following time, I‘ll keep sharing with you about my new adventures.
Pre and post “EWOCA”
2016 09 01
Summer in Telšiai flew away like good dream. It‘s already 1st of September and i would like to share with you experiences from August.
Well... it was not easy month but was full with new and amazing things, first of what was „EWOCA“. Name of this project i have been hearing here from the first my arrival day, everywhere in the youth center were preparing for this like for a great event, and finally i understood why. It was work camp for Lithuanian, German and Spanish youngsters that takes place annualy in different countries and if you don‘t participate in it, very hard to explain why it is so amazing and useful. During two weeks, 37 people like one big family were working together to build amazing outside oven and fireplace. One great Georgian writer said once that whole passion is in process of building, not in taking pleasure with the result of built things, and this project prooved for me those words, in process it was hard, not only for me but for everybody, but understanding that we were doing something beautiful and useful that will stand for many many years was giving us motivation enthusiasm and passion to work harder, and this is „EWOCA“ itself, it gives youngsters understanding of being useful and meaningful, to make them love working, creating new things and show that they also can. It burns in their hearts the fire that will make worm for many years from inside.
Except working there were a lot of fun, new love stories, new friendships, new sightseengs from amazing places of Lithuania, national evenings where many people and especially me found out a lot of things about the culture and cuisine of each countries. And the feeling that i am part of it was amazing.
But everything that begins has end and the project ended as well, saying goodbye, write each other some memorable letters a lot of hugs and tears were emotional, but the youngsters will meet again each other after one year in sunny Spain and they already waiting for it.
After the project i decided to use my free days to visit one of the most beautiful places in Lithuania called Birštonas, it is resort full with mineral waters that have recreational character, and i had the feeling that i was in my country in Borjomi, from were comes famous mineral water. In Birštonas i spend unfogettable days and fullfilled my energy for new month new challanges and adventures, as they are a lot during EVS ...
Everything good that stars good
2016 07 25
Hey, I am Avtandil, 22 years old youngster from Georgia (but as my full name sometimes sounds too strange for strangers, i am getting to know like Avto to my new friends J ) i am new volnuteer in Telšiai open youth center came here in the beginning of july and going to stay here for 12 months. I would like to share my feelings and impressions gained after first weeks being here:
So it started... my EVS project from which i had a lot of expectations. Of course it is one of the bigest challenge in every persons life, i came to Lithuania, to my favorite country to accept this challange and i have been here almost one month already. Firstly i would like to admit that my expectations and hopes came true, here i really feel like at home, and despite the fact that i have not had experience to do exactly such work that i have to do here i have feeling that even this work is familiar for me, and mostly because of the people who met me here and recieved like part of their team, that‘s why my addaptation period did not took a lot of time and my enthusiasm during this month only increased.
From the third day after my arrival i was involved in a project named „Jaunimo sąlėka“ that was something new and familiar for me simultaneously, I have participated in a lot of youth exchange projects before and structure of such camps were more or less familiar, but it’s always interesting and exciting to be not like a participant but like one of the leaders take part in planning of activities, and try to communicate with youth on their native language of course would be naïve if I say that it was easy, but as I admitted above I was ready for challenges, in fact that’s why I came here – for new life style, new experiences and adventures, even hiking planned during this project taught me a lot and gifted me a lot of feelings that I had not had before, orientation in alien areas, being depend on group’s decisions, find way in the forest under rainstorm and survive in swamp will stay in my mind like nice memories although in process I felt not so fine. It was some kind of exam for my persoanality that I think I passed and now it made me stronger than I was before.
I think following months will be full with new adventures and I can’t wait them. Maybe the first time in my 22 years I feel myself really independent, free and very close to happiness and because of this I am very grateful to everybody around me and to life for giving me such an opportunity.
Protmūšis "EST švenčia 20 Telšiuose"
2016 06 20
2016 m. Europos savanorių tarnyba švenčia 20 – ąjį jubiliejų. Ta proga VšĮ atviras Telšių jaunimo centras kartu su JTBA ERASMUS+ programa organizuoja protmūšius Telšiuose ir Telšių rajone. Birželio 18 d. vyks baigiamasis renginys, kurio metu bus pakviesti tarptautiniai EST savanoriai iš Lietuvos, tad kviečiame susipažinti ir sudalyvauti kūrybinėse dirbtuvėse. O koks gi gimtadienis be torto?
Gegužės 18 d. Tryškių Lazdynų Pelėdos gimnazijos aktų salėje ir gegužės 19 d. Kaunatavos kultūros centro jaunimo erdvėje buvo organizuojamas protmūšis, skirtas Europos savanorių tarnybos 20 – ajam gimtadieniui paminėti. Į protmūšį buvo kviečiama visa bendruomenė nuo 14 metų. Labai norime pasidžiaugti, kad Tryškiuose susidarė net 5 komandos, o Kaunatavoje pasiryžusios rungtyniauti buvo 2 komandos. 23 d. protmūšis „EST švenčia 20 Telšiuose“ buvo organizuojamas organizacijoms, kurioms būtų naudinga turėti tarptautinius savanorius. 3 – iąją vietą užėmė lopšelis-darželis “Berželis”, 2 – ąją Telšių vaikų globos namai, o 1 – ąją LDB komanda. Sekantis protmūšis bus organizuojamas birželio 16 d. JDC.
Protmūšis yra sudarytas iš 4 turų, kiekviename ture po 10 klausimų. Pirmajame ture klausimai be pasirenkamų atsakymo variantų, 2 – ajame ir 3 – iajame turuose pateikti keturi atsakymo variantai. Paskutinis turas – muzikinis, komandos girdi sutrumpintus šalies himnus ir turi parašyti, kokiai šaliai priklauso himnas. Šis turas labai gerai sekėsi vienai Kaunatavos komandai “Mes jėga”, kurioje vienas dalyvis žinojo net 6 iš 10 –ies himnus – jam padėjo domėjimasis futbolu J
Ačiū dalyviams už norą išgirsti apie Europos savanorių tarnybą ir sudalyvauti protmūšyje bei už malonų bendradarbiavimą.
Regional English Spelling Contest
2016 04 25
The main goal of Regional English Spelling Competition was to promote students for English as a second language learning in Telšiai region. The idea which I have proposed to my colleagues and the teachers from 8 schools and gymnasiums was very new and interesting for students as well as for the students.
I was working on this project for 2 months with my mentor Ele Kakanauskienė and organizing several meetings with responsible teachers.
The project included two rounds: Local round at the schools and the Final round at Telšiai municipality. More than 130 students participated in the first round of this competition and only 34 of them advanced to the final round.
The participants were divided into two categories: 1st category - 8-9 graders, 2nd category - 10-11 graders; The participants have learned 400 words in total. For the first round they were asked to write selected English words correctly but for the final they should spell them by oral.
Another goal of this project was to build partnership between different institutions such as: Telšiai Youth Center, Schools and Gymnasiums from Telšiai region and the Municipality of Telšiai. We invited the Secretery of the Ambassador of US Embassy who helped us as one of the judges during the final round. All partner institutions contributed in the award ceremony.
In the end, the main goal of this EVS blog is to inform next volunteers (who plans to come here) about the daily activities which are running at the organisation. And you, who are reading this article, I want to kindly ask you to continue this project nex year. I should mention that it was the first time that Telšiai schools have been involved in such kind of competition. All teachers promised that they will do this project again. So, just contact to the amazing person Ele (you will meet her) and do your best for Telšiai students. I am keeping all materials and documets for YOU at Telšiai Youth Center. Good luck and have a wonderful EVS time!
Croatia went to villages
2016 03 18
After spending all the time in the youth centre in Telsiai decision also came to see the other side of the work youth centre does and that is going to villages that was covered by my colleague Jemal. As he planned holidays for one week it was ideal time to start going to villages and introduce Croatia, our culture, customs, games to the youth in villages. I agreed on the dates with colleagues and the evening could start.
From first evening in Luoke till last one in Lieplauke during three weeks time I covered mostly all the villages. Youth reactions and involvement was on a really high level as they were really motivated to learn more about Croatia but also to play the card game as it is not an easy one to learn in just a few times you try it. They also learned how volunteering provides a lot of opportunities and that is something they can consider doing in their future.
It is easy to say that going to villages also gave me a whole new view about this kind of work with youth and I was learning from them as much as they were learning from me. Youth showed most interest in learning what words are similar in lithuanian and croatian language and also learning the most basic words in croatian. Tongue twisters were just a bonus for them to try to see if they can manage to pronounce things that are even hard for locals in my country and I have to admit they did a really great job.
It was three weeks of full pleasure in working with all the youth in different villages, and at the same time being able to work with another collague at work and seeing different approaches, methods and ways of communication between the two of us. It was an real honor and privilege to work with Jurgita and she gave me so much happy moments as well as the youth. Maybe some day, somewhere we will see each other again dear youth from villages and my doors and invitation to visit Croatia is always open.
2016 03 02
Food, a human need, so different between different countries and cultures. Different accents on main ingredients in meals, variety of main dishes, cakes, sweets, cookies is what makes things very interesting and attractive.Going to different restaurants or better say kavines one thing is very common for Lithuanians and that is portions of food are very small. I am of average height 185 cm and between 90 and 100kg so I can eat a lot but also I know what I can expect from a meal to be enough for me. Here I have to eat the main dish (without bread mostly although if you ask you can get it) and dessert and still feel hunger in a small margin and the inner feeling of wanting more after I ate all of that. Difference also between the food I am used to and here is that there is more oil used and easier to get weight from. Not to be all negative about the food there are a lot of positive things about it and the main one is taste as Lithuanian food is really good quality and it flows easily after every bite you make.Sweets are one of the best things in shops as you can buy them for very cheap price and enjoy at home while you watch series, movies or have a party. Deserts in restaurants as you can see on the picture are just waiting for your bites and mostly dissapear from the plate very fast. Specialities like Sakotis or Skruzdelinas are just a piece of art being made but also you pay a pretty nice amount of money for it but for the quality it is worth it. If you are thinking of finding products in shops well most likely you will find them but there are some very different things that is still hard for me to properly find. Bread like in Croatia is something they have totally different and is probably something I miss the most. Tomato sauce is also one of the things that totally differs from the one we eat as these ones here are just ketchup or something way different. Only products from Croatia I found are Vegeta and the soups from Podravka. Comparing the prices in Lithuania and Croatia its easy to say it is cheaper here and you can make your food budget for the month way easier. To conclude this article it is good to say your cooking skills will for sure improve at home and you will be grateful for the food you have in your own country after a while as a period of one year is long and coming back to it will be something worth the wait.
2016 02 29
One of the things I enjoyed during the mid term training was writing in the activity about where we see ourselves in 7 years or about a fresh start from the begining. I wrote in the end a total mix of both topics where there are things from all fields inside the story and whoever reads this hope you enjoy it.
Born under a lucky star, lotto-winner, early to school, great student, into sports, started travelling early, used opportunities in front of him, try to live life with no regrets, do things I want to do, always try to put a smile on your face, put smiles on other faces also. Set small goals, which you try to achieve soon and also a few long term ones, that you try to build and make for yourself.
It's a great feeling when you achieve your aims and goals inside the period you wanted to. Getting to know that personal growth is only about yourself and it's up to you how much time, money, health, will, motivation or "openmindness" you bring into it. Everything you feel is just in the hands that you put in front of yourself, with which you try to grab your life and not let it live itself for you.
Do things that make you happy, that challenge you to move away from your comfort zone. Be inspired, but also be inspiring. Make everyday different, see every path you go in a different way, with another thing that changed in it. [there is no repeat in life] Nothing needs to be a routine, if you open your mind.
So many possibilities and things are around us, that we never even thought about yet.
Every single breath is different, so are our steps, moves, letters, actions. We can say emotions need to lead us, but so does the sense. It's not easy to choose between heart and brain, as they do things so differently. Trying to find a perfect balance will make a great way of life.
Life passes so quickly. We don't have a lot of chances to even look at it from some positions or at some of it's periods. Valuing time and moments that are in front of us, using them here and now and holding them firmly with a smile before going to bed every night, will keep our wishes of a great life even inside our dreams, when we rest and accumulate the energy for new experiences. Even the experiences in dreams are valuable, because by valuating them, we can see how our life looks like, regardless if it's negative or positive.
Fear is a thing that discourages us to challenge ourselves or to tackle hurdles in front of us. Overcome fear by seeing it as a step that we can always pass through no matter if it turns out to be risky. And being dared is not being stupid it's just putting the right value for yourself at the right place.
Keep shining and doing bright things for yourself and you will always learn from everything you do and evolve into a person, that can look into a mirror and that you would be proud to meet, approach or be approached by. A person you would consider as a friend, someone close worth keeping, holding, having in your life and never wanting to let it go.
Hug a person and hold it tight, get the person of its feet and transfer all the emotions you have inside yourself and put them into the hug with that person.
Always remember that there is someone who can make your day worthwhile and full of happiness, no matter if the person is in the mirror, next to you, on a screen or thousand kilometers away...
Activities during EVS
2016 02 29
Time passes by so quickly that there are rare chances where I remember everything what I have done during my time here. Luckily writing a diary and talking with mentor reminds you how valuable the things are no matter how small they look like and also how time passes by and you always think there is enough of it.
There are activities I was involved in and also there are activities that I was organizing. Some of them are organizing Croatian evenings inside the youth centre in Telsiai, Varniai, other villages while going with mobile youth workers but also in kindergarten, schools, conferences and even to meetings of Lithuanians that speak German language. Next thing was also doing presentations about EVS and voluntarism in schools and on various conference and meetings. Organizing activities in the sports hall every thursday provides youth one time a week to really do some organized sport and even get the opportunity to learn a new one such as handball as it is very unknown in this city and region. Painting the wall inside the youth centre with youth was also one of the activities as currently youth in villages and in the youth centre is also learning about Croatian card games and how to play them. Everyday playing table tennis or table football provides possibilities for small tournaments between the youth. Cooking and preparing Croatian sweet called Rafioli was also one of the activities as was also organizing an evening where they tried Croatian meat, cheese and other products I brought from Croatia while being there for holidays. Being able to talk with children, youth, people outside the youth centre with the accent that I am a Croatian volunteer there in my opinion exposed the doors of the youth centre and is more recognizable in the public eyes of the town through all the places I go to outside of work or easily said in all my free time. Although I use my free time by volunteering in the kindergarten, attending local quizes, caffe's, school lessons, various shops everything eventually leaded to being interviewed for the local magazine where I talked about myself and how is it for me here in Telsiai.
Looking back to the beginings where I was doing energizers just as a small part of the day to being able to do the activity during the whole evening and end the night with a smile on the faces of youth is the best feeling and brings joy to my face also.
Is there a room for more? Well we can always argue about it but forcing something would be too much. I really like what I have done here during my time as this is not the branch of work where I professionally work and just hope all my activities I have yet to finish will be done with the smiles on the faces by the time my "See you one day again Lithuania" comes.
Croatian food in TJC
2016 01 14
After not being able to proparly present my countries food and delicacies that we have I decided that after I come back from holidays in Croatia I bring as much as I can to show the youth what they can find in my country if one day they decide to visit. There was a bit of everything on the table: a symbolic combination of meat such as pršut and kulen, cheese from one of many Croatian islands to different chocolates, vafles, cookies and of course caramels. It is safe to say that they liked the meat a lot as it was gone faster then you could eat one small cookie or a piece of chocolate but trying other things on the table and eating it was not such a hard task as by the end of the evening everything was gone from the plates.
Although youth had different tastes in which chocolate is better then the other as there were a lot of different ones present, the point was they liked the food and were writing down the names of specific products so they can search for them maybe in the future if they decide to visit or by some luck end up in Croatia.
Life outside EVS
2016 01 08
Coming to a foreign country for EVS does not mean being always attached to the hosting organisation and people you are working with. It means the ability to get involved into social life of the city, region, country opening yourself to a totally new view on things EVS in a way provided you.
My life before Telsiai was more involved in my three jobs back in Croatia with less time for myself and exploring new possibilities as three jobs took away almost any free time I had. April 2015 changed the whole thing when I sent my CV and application form to TJC and my world started orienting on what I can learn more and new possibilities and experiences in front of me in Lithuania.
It was not an easy ride first months as differences in mentality, personalities, even just walking, biking or driving through Lithuania was a whole new thing and at the same time a feeling of freedom to soak it all up and live it with full lungs.
As my profession is working in kindergarten as an earlychildhood educator I was lucky that my colleagues from TJC were able to connect me to the local kindergarten and their director and since then my free time in the mornings involves going into kindergarten every day possible for at least 2 hours and enjoy spending time with children and also to see and be involved in the process of learning in the kindergartens here. This experience also helped me to learn the lithuanian words faster and be able to communicate in their native language instead of trying with english, german, hands and feet. It is always fascinating to see how much children show us and every day we can learn from them the same way as they learn from us. I was also lucky to be involved in the kindergarten's 55 year celebration in this lovely small town that since January 1st this year is the Lithuanian culture capital.
Kindergaten is not the only involvement I have in Telsiai as I also try to be involved in the activities that the locals have in a group that speaks german language. As a part of the group I attended the bike hike and gathering around Plateliai lake, and currently am involved in showing them how their Marie (teddy bear) as a lucky charm traveled with me to Croatia and everything what was happening there with me she was involved. She visited a lot of historical and interesting places and got to speak along with a lot of people in different languages.
I was also glad to be a part of a youth team that was involved in the local "Protu mušus" in Senaimiestis kavine as it was one really good experience to be in presence of people that are also involved a lot in the social life of this town. It was not important to win for me but a small contribution that I had in this was a perfect satisfaction. I also need to add that being a foreigner it was really hard to understand the questions but luckily for me with my lithuanian friends everything was possible.
Living here in Telsiai is also easy when you have a colleague volunteer that you can do a lot of things with and at the same time share a lot of responsibilities and work especially in the flat and kitchen :) The best thing about living together is also planing our free time as the travelers that we are new places, cities and countries await for us so new photos and souveniers will be on our shelves, fridges, t-shirts and facebook profiles.
Using any free time for traveling around is the best way to fulfill your time no matter if its traveling to another city, country or just walking to the local restaurant and trying local specialities. Experience and new things are just around the corner and you just need to make the step towards it and live it.
Give a tour of your country
2015 12 28
EVS gives you a chance to share information about your country and culture. Georgian evening was planned for December 17th at Telšiai Youth Center. Young people got information about Georgian dances, food, and traditions which was shown by using power point presentations and videos..
The evening included presentation about the friendship of Lithuanian and Georgian people which contains more than 520 years of cooperation.
It had a positive effect on youth that I could see their interest to these activities. Everything was new and unusual for them.
At the end of the day I offered them to try Georgian dances. Some of them joined us and had fun with it. After all, we tried to cook Georgian traditional dish "Khachapuri" (cheese bread). Some girls took responsibilities for making dough or preparing cheese.
There was a nice atmosphere for everyone.
Croatian evening in Varniai
2015 12 13
Wednesday (09.12) evening 18h Croatian evening in Varniai started with youth already feeling the lovely smell of the Croatian food and wanting to know what is it and can they eat it. Before that happened they needed to see and try to remember how this wonderful meat is being called through a presentation of Croatia and also to get a taste of candy as a small prize for correct answers in the quiz. It was a very interesting night as everybody was having at least a small sandwhich with two kinds of meat, tried the delicious chocolate and walk home with a candy in their pocket. With new information about Croatia, places to see, famous Croatian people to maybe recognize in the future and food that left a taste in the mouths wanting for more all youth had a conclusion and wish that the volunteer writing this article comes for a visit again. So dear Varniai youth see you some time in the future again.
Your EVS volunteer Duby
2015 12 13
On 01.12 in Džiugo gimnasium and on 07.12 in Darbo birža my colleague EVS volunteer Jemo, Inga (employee at Darbo birža) and me were sharing our own personal experiences about volunteering, what it means for us, how is it useful for society, why it is important to be a volunteer, motivate youth to search for EVS maybe one day in the future and what EVS could mean for them and their lives. While being in gymnasium the auditorium were students from the last two classes in the school and their professors while at Inga`s work place it was people that are currently unemployed. We presented our current experience while doing EVS here in TJC and also did one small activity to show them the importance of volunteering. Students were actively involved in the activity and were asking questions to us.
Your EVS volunteer Duby
2015 12 13
On a sunny saturday (28.11) morning Saulena, Renata and me leaded the youth for a nice walk (14km one way) towards sauna close to Alsedziai where we continue the Healthylifestyle academy program of which this activity is a part of. We went at 10h and on the way towards the sauna we were having tasks like putting the traces for the route back in the forest and on the trees, small energizers and activities for getting to know each other. When we arrived to sauna place we organized ourselves to put the fire on, start food preparation with one group and others after the fire is ready go to sauna and enjoy the full experience it offers. When we finished with sauna it was time to enjoy the warm soup and after that cleaning the place, leaving it the same as it was prior to our arrival there and make final preparations for a night trip back home. Night travel back was a whole new experience and also an interesting way to see how it differs a lot from the walk during the day and that all the activities done in the morning are needed for a way back as without it we would be walking in the forest in circle and not back home. The long trip back home ended around 22h with tired legs but big smiles on the faces of the youth.
Your EVS volunteer Duby
Croatian evening in TJC
2015 11 27
As a volunteer in the youth centre it was a part of EVS to present your country through intercultural evening. I organized a Croatian evening, invited a colleague Croatian volunteer from Šiauliai to assist and help give a special charm to the evening. I started first with a presentation of where I am from and what I was doing prior to arriving on EVS here that involved a video about my previous work in a kindergarten for children with dissabilities and heavy physical dissabilities. After this the ppt presentation started and was followed by youtube videos about Croatia as a country and everything that we offer to foreigners through tourism during summer and winter time. Quiz provided the most interest as it involved funny facts about Croatia that youth might have known from their everyday life but never thought it was Croatian. Youth in the end learned few simple words in Croatian language as well as that we have a lot of similar words with Lithuanian language. All in all a very entertaining and warm atmosphere was throughout the evening.
Next activities involving me are:
01.12 - Džiugo gimnazija (International volunteers day)
03.12 - Mastis lopšelis - darželis (Croatian day)
07.12 - Darbo birža (Voluntarism)
09.12 - Varniai (Croatian evening)
Your EVS volunteer Duby
Presentations for local students
2015 11 24
Working with young people is an interesting job for me, especially in new environment. Sometimes it’s getting boring when you spend your time with the same group of young people and doing the same activities everyday.
I started to do presentations about different topics for students in Telsiai and other villages. My colleagues helped me to share brochures at public schools which contained information about volunteer at Telsiai Youth Center that I could provide these activities for students. My brochures offered students to choose one from four topics which would be presented by me. Students were interested in these topics and asked me to present “Voluntarism” in a small town, called Varniai.
The presentation was based on non-formal methods which included questions and answers with audience, Power Point presentation about types and examples of voluntary work and activity “Blind people in a street” to show students how important volunteering is. After the activity the students involved in discussion with me. They asked me to explain how they could apply for EVS program and what are the advantages of Erasmus + projects.
On the other hand, I was impressed when I saw Georgian corner at geography classroom. The teacher has been in my country and she shared her impressions how beautiful travel she had three years ago. At the end of the meeting the students gave me a present “Varna” and explained that the name of the town “Varniai” is derived from this word “Varna” which means crow.
At the end:
“Never doubt that a small group
of thoughtful committed citizens
can change the world; indeed it
is the only thing that ever has.”
— Margaret Mead
Free time in Telšiai
2015 11 17
Tired of things? Don’t worry! Small and nice Telšiai can change your mood. Put on warm clothes, scarf, hat, take a camera and go outside! Do not forget to have an umbrella.
Yes, this is a right place to relax, to enjoy with your hobbies. There are several places where you can shoot nice photos. Especially in autumn, while it’s snowing the view is so nice. The infrastructure of the city helps you to have special vision from your camera. November was great time for me to make a photo album of this season.
Lake, white clock in a center of town, churches, colorful houses, amphitheater, museum and lot of signs of Žemaitija (Region) make things interesting.
There is nothing, except to enjoy with your EVS program.
Telšiuose Gyventi Gera - Good to live in Telšiai!
2015 10 18
Let me start...
Laba diena! (Hello). I am Jemo Bortsvadze, 21 years old Georgian volunteer at Telsiai Youth Center. I am participating in European Voluntary Service which gives me an opportunity to meet new people, learn through experience and discover new skills.
I'd like to share my impressions about European Voluntary Service(EVS) and Lithuania that I have already spent five months here. Why and how am I doing my EVS program here? Did I know anything about this?
NO, I have never had a desire to join EVS before, but since I did it, I became more and more impressed that more I learnt about it.
The program started in summer, July 1st, 2015. I am volunteering at Telšiai youth center which provides many different kind of activities for youth ages 14-29. There are five employees and two EVS volunteers at work.
So, how things were going? - very differently :) In the beginning it was difficult to find myself here, that I did not know people and country, everything was new and different for me.
The weather was unusual in July. It was raining almost everyday. Of course, this is Lithuania(Lietuva), country of rain and you can't complain about this.
After one week of my arrival the youth center provided Bike-hiking for 21 young people. That was a huge question for me how the weather was changing all the time. We had to ride bikes in hot, cold, windy and rainy weathers. At that time it was very hard but now it's great experience for me!
People? - very nice! But a bit cold, like the weather in Lithuania :). They do not express their feelings or emotions that much but after some time you realize all the advantages of Lithuanian people. It is really appreciated how much they love their country and how they take care of everything.
My work? - I have been working with young people since 2012 but this is totally new experience for me. I could not imagine how difficult this work would be. I needed almost 3 months to find myself here. My job includes working with young people with different interests, difficult habits, the youth who do not have any goals in their life and spending time with their friends. Sometimes it's hard to listen to them when they tell their stories about families, friends or their future life. But when you realize your position and your responsibilities, things are getting easy to do.
Free time? - EVS gives you an opportunity to travel in a country or abroad and do your favorit things during the program. Telsiai is a small city but still you can find special places for photography, great coffee or tea and walking near the lake.