First month of Volunteering in Slovenia. TOP Experience.
While I can’t say that I have learned and understood Slovenian language quite yet, I can describe my experience during first month of volunteering as Ful Dober. From the places I have seen, to the people’s interaction to working and discussing ideas, this month has treated me well.
Starting the month, I was able to design and do a small workshop in a high school near our city (you notice how I already call it OUR city), that was a continuation of the training I participated last month about Addiction. What I loved about it is the fact I was given the freedom of being creative with the program of the workshop. My coordinators were there for all the times I had questions and doubts, but they didn’t interfere with the program. The day of the workshop I was quite nervous but after the first energizer with the group of pupils, every nervous feeling went away. The group even though shy at first didn't hesitate on being welcoming, kind and very patient through every exercise. They had many nice things to say by the end which made me feel great.
Designing programs has been a theme for this month as I have also been able to work with the team here about one workshop and an event for the next months. I get to learn about how youth work is different here, I get to know practices that make the youth work more effective, and I get to do all things in different languages.
Besides office activities, my adoptive Slovenian family has made sure to give me a taste of the culture literally and figuratively. We had a trip visiting a few of Slovenian landmarks such as Bled, Bohinj Lake and Vogel Ski Resort. I would call it one of the main highlights of my entire experience here for the rest of my staying because the scenery was breathtaking everywhere you lied your eyes, and it had such a peaceful energy, I felt recharged only by viewing across the horizon. Beside the cultural taste, I have tried Slovenian dishes and even more because the food has been great.
To sum up my situation, I feel inspired and rested during my first month of volunteering. I look forward to how the activities are going to unfold and I also look forward to visiting more of Slovenia because it so rich in nature and things to do I can wrap my head around yet.
In the end I wanted to write about the main thing I loved more about my experience so far. I placed in the end not because it's not relevant or important, but I wanted the reader to be left with the taste of it when they finish reading it. I wanted to write that within my first month of volunteering, the thing I enjoyed the most is the respect and kindness people show around here. It's not an overbearing welcoming, it's so human, gentle and touching that I feel lucky and honour for being welcomed in here first by my hosting team and also by the locals. You can always find people to help you, they always greet you on the street, especially the cute grandmas and they also have something nice to say about Albania even though they might not know much about it. Being a person that is very attached to my country (some would say nationalist) this experience has been eye-opening and heart-opening because I look forward to hugging the culture a little bit more.