Kristina, Luis and other

As it was promised before this post is going to be about new EVS volunteers, Kristina and Luis, and their first impressions about the project.

We will start with Kristina, and it is actually me and I am happy to greet everyone reading this stuff. Firstly, let me introduce myself for you to know whom you deal with. I come from Ukraine which is a post-soviet country in eastern Europe. I am twenty-five years old and have two specialities by now the first of which is a teacher of the English and German languages and the foreign literature; the second and probably more important for me is an actress of a dramatic theatre.

Obviously, the common question of most people is why I have chosen the path to be a long-term volunteer. The answer would be many-sided. First of all, my life motto is “CARPE DIEM”, that is why I try to change something all the time in order to do as many things as possible while I am still alive) Secondly, I have always liked the idea of taking a gap year spent on travelling with a help of which I hope it will be easier for me to choose the country I would consider my second home. The last issue was my curiosity which did not allow me to sleep well after I had got to know about Erasmus program and its consequences)

So, right now I am here in “De Hoge Rielen” lying on the sofa and thinking what to write in this post) Frankly speaking, I have no regret at all about my decision of going to Belgium. Of course, at the beginning I felt like a fish which was taken from its home lake and put into a great ocean with other ocean creatures but surely very friendly creatures) At the moment I am not able to say that I feel 100% like home, especially when somebody starts speaking Dutch and then I sometimes have the feeling that people are talking about me. Luckily, my future language lessons will not give others this opportunity)

Luis – Arrival in De Hoge Rielen

It´s the middle of July, five past two , I am standing at the train station “Bruxelles-Nord”, packed with two overdimensional backpacks and my guitar, stepping into the the train with direction Turnhout.

Once inside the train, I start wondering where I will stay for the next 9 months; the houses and streets get more and more replaced by cows, fields and finally trees. Where have I landed?

But although I was pretty tired and exhausted from my 8-hour-trip I was really curious about what working as a volunteer will be like in De Hoge Rielen. The first impressions were great: I could experience the different parts of the domain by bike together with Karen and found some very nice spots.

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I also really enjoyed getting to know many of the employees of De Hoge Rielen as well as my volunteer fellows. After having a first overview over the domain, I could participate in the different working tasks, like workshops, the klimbos, working in oonthal or in the restaurant. So I got an impression what work is like in De Hoge Rielen.

So, as a conclusion, I can say that I am really glad about my decision to spend a year in this beautiful place, and I am looking forward to experience the following months in our group of 5 volunteers :)

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Training in Bruges

Hey everyone!

Since last time we wrote to you, we had some changes in our house.  Our beloved Ana went to a far off land, where trees are thrown for fun, men wear skirts, and people believe in a monster under the lake, instead of a pissing boy! Oh yeah, we also got a new EVSer.

He is a he and his name is David. David came from Austria and is planning to stay 10 months. He arrived on may 30th and well will stay till march 31st.

So, last week Yigit and David had their on-arrival training, some of you may ask yourselfs, “hey, Yigit did not arrive just yet! Why is he doing an on-arrival?”, or some of you don’t even care, anyway Yigit had his on-arrival training last week, because he missed the first on arrival training this year by almost one month.

Both of the trainings were pretty good. We had a fun week in Merkenveld (which is a friendly scouts place that is 30 minutes far from Bruges center), met some nice people, learned more about EVS, drank lots of good beers. We had very cool trainers also. Open minded and flexible. It helped a lot to express ourselves. In our last day, we made a big camp fire in the woods and danced around it as you can see on the gif below.

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And don’t forget about the marshmallows :P Since our training lasted until Saturday 1pm, some of us went to an Irish Pub in center of Bruges and watched Belgium football team destroy Tunusia.

“Thanks to the Eramus+ program we are all able to come together from all over Europe and from further parts of the world to meet, to exchange, to love, to laugh and most importantly to show that it is possible for different nations to live together in a respectful and peaceful way!
This is one of the main ideas of the Erasmus. Get very different people together and teach them and make them teach.”

As final words, let us give you a small glimpse about our next blog post; this week we are having our new EVS volunteer Kristina from Ukraine. So next blog post will be about her first impressions. See you.

EVS – New Travel, Friends and Family

There’s this Erasmus+ 60sec video competition so we packed our bags and went travelling through Belgium for 3 days, met a bunch of wonderful EVS volunteers and filmed everything we did. Please check out the video and give us a lil’ like in the link bellow so we can
win this thing : https://goo.gl/os9sgu

Thanks to everyone who helped us make the video, and to Barbara Jovanovic for all the wonderful ideas and a bunch of energy throughout the whole trip!
Continue reading “EVS – New Travel, Friends and Family”

An EVS Sneak Peek

European Voluntary Service: A New Hope

It is the 21st century and Europe is awesome.
Usually.
Comparing.
Young people from all over are flying to everywhere else in order to make friends, help society and be so deep out the comfort zone everyone feels like drowning a bit.
Our heroes Ana, Amel and Yigit chose Belgium for a destination – mostly because of the beer and the chocolate. And to help society, yes.

Continue reading “An EVS Sneak Peek”

Monkey For One Day

Which of you always wanted to be an animal for one day?
Today we had our chance!

First of all, we would like to explain what klimbos means. The word ”klim” in Dutch means climbing and ” bos ” means forest. This activity is the jewel of the crown of de hoge rielen – in case we were still in royal times, you see. We visited it from the ground on the very first day (to check for damage after the big storm) and several times since. We helped clean and manage all the equipment necessary – helmets, harnesses, gloves, smartbelay. We were involved on the preparation of Gebouw 27 where the participants have the first contact with the material and are able to try it out themselves.
Continue reading “Monkey For One Day”

Challenge Accomplished!

Hello everyone!

It’s been a while since we last wrote to you but that’s only because of the great news: Yigit finally arrived! The world of burocracy is tough but we are together now <3

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With Yigit’s arrival, we (Amel and Ana) were invited to reflect about everything that we have learned in these past weeks and we realised it was way more than we were aware. We’ve met and became close to other EVSers who we call friends now; we know our way in the forest (almost) by heart; we are one with the belgium winter and ecological mobility (yay bikes and electric cars!). We have travelled a bit and we know the easiest and cheapest ways to reach any part of Flandres and the Netherlands. Also, beers! Continue reading “Challenge Accomplished!”