This is their story!
Katrina’s “best friend” for the last 3 years was Excel- she was working as Sales and Demand planner in international company. And then in one day she decided- it is time to develop her personality in more creative way. Going abroad, meeting new people and cultures, developing new ideas… And the application was sent to Agora Aveiro. Now she has an amazing chapter in her lifebook.. experience that couldn’t be gained in a different way.
Marko was craving for change in his life. Big love to team work, travel and learning/teaching languages as well as love towards Iberian peninsula brought him in cozy Aveiro in his new family in Agora. Now he went again through “growing up” period this time different one – growing up like responsible, capable and overall adult person ready for new/next step in personal and professional life. And yes, this EVS was life-changing experience.
Beatrice wished to move to another country and work for the community. Volunteering in Romania made her wish to be able to do this full time, even more if it was possible to live by the sea… or in this case, the ocean. Agora Aveiro was the perfect mix for her, providing the perfect environment in which to develop.
Working together as a team in intercultural environment helped to generate and implement amazing ideas and some of them will be continued by local volunteers.
“We were lucky that an amazing project called “The Travel School”, happened to be based this year exactly in – Aveiro! This project has been already implemented in four different countries and this year came to Portugal. Agora Aveiro, our coordinating organisation was, together with Klub putnika from Serbia co-organising the project so that we had a chance to join the project. The project lasted for one month and we interacted both with locals and traveler who took part. Agora Aveiro was in charge of providing “A month of Free Workshops” so we were both giving the workshops and attending them all the time. It was an amazing experience of intense learning about all sort of things such as travel writing, cartography, learning the Cyrillic alphabet, learning about parks and plants… It also included many reflection moments, and much more” – say Bea, Kate and Marko.
In the meantime they still find some time to re-paint the I Love Aveiro iconic stairs that Agora Aveiro decorated in 2012. The colour was fading and so they spent a cheerful day repainting it together with local volunteers of the association.
“After an exciting summer full of intercultural encounters, we started focusing more on a Human Library event. Human Library works as a normal library, only that books are people, and reading consists of a conversation. The books for this event were European Voluntary Service volunteers, former volunteers or coordinators, sharing their stories about their experiences in other countries and volunteering. The readers were, hopefully, future EVS volunteers. We came up with this idea as this year EVS celebrated 20 years and so we decided to promote it as we believe it can be a life-changing experience!” – explain the three youngsters and add:
“The truth is that we instantly fell in love with Aveiro. Everything about it is interesting to us. Already after seeing the stairs with I Love Aveiro message, Katrina came up with the idea of a project entitled I love Aveiro in which we could share stories about the common places, people or “phenomenons” of Aveiro and we embraced the challenge! This is an ongoing and we hope never-ending project that already has a strong visual identity and its own website. We are collecting and writing stories about (un)known people, places, urban legends from Aveiro, and we publish them on its facebook and webpage. Through this project we want to raise awareness about the treasures of our town, and anyone who has a story at hand can share it with us, in order to be published.”
Ever since she came to Aveiro, Beatrice wanted to develop Language exchange meetings and finally it was done for the first time in September. Every Wednesday in Mercado Negro people who started learning a new language, and want to practice it, can come meet and talk to new people interested in the same language as them. But we can say that this is not only about learning new language, it is also about meeting new people, sharing and spending time together.
“T.h.e.a.t.r.e.” was workshop developed by Marko. It was dedicated to emotions and theatre. Every moment in our life is somehow connected with emotions – waking up, eating, kissing, talking, choosing good T-shirt, choosing where to go, whom to talk to. Theatre is perfect place to discover all hidden and all real emotion one person has so on this workshop we all tried to wake up our emotions and learnt how to use them or not to use them.
“The main message of our EVS projects were “Do something nice”. Do something nice for yourself, for your town and people around you. It could be everything- learning new language in order to develop yourself, sharing your experience and knowledge with others, spreading kindness in society. Cafe Suspenso is the last big project everyone is working on – through this project we want to implement a system of pay-it-forward; more exactly this means that you can go to a coffee shop, pay for an extra coffee, and leave it for someone else to take, thus promoting random acts of kindness.”, our volunteers agree.
“The EVS experience doesn’t resume solely on working on different projects, but we also made a lot of friends from all over the world, we visited beautiful places in Portugal, we held workshops about our personal passions. In these four months we got immersed in the Portuguese culture, we learned basic words in Portuguese (of course), we lived at an intensified rhythm. If someone would ask us the first association about Aveiro or Portugal in general, it would be hard to answer. Ocean, azulejos, pastel de nata (the best sweet in the world), Costa Nova, waves, sun, bacalhau com natas, tripa (special sweet from Aveiro), Porto, Lisbon, cliffs, nice lady in bakery,…. People! ♥ It is colourful mix of everything and it is impossible to separate something. It was only four months, but during this time we learned a lot- we found our limits, we made some huge life changing decisions, we set some new goals and moved boundaries. If you’re also up for a change or a personal challenge, EVS is what you are looking for”