Monday, 9 March 2015

My EVS in Athens

My EVS in Athens

In January 2014 I packed my huge luggage, it was time in the middle of the winter but my destination was sunny Greece.  I was chosen to be an EVS volunteer for EDRA in Athens where I worked with mentally disabled people. Now one year after spending already two months back in my home country Finland I start to understand what kind of experience it was. I can recommend EVS for everyone who is interested in getting to know a new culture and exploring a different country in Europe. Especially after graduation from high school EVS is a great opportunity when you don`t know yet exactly what you would like do for your job when you`ll get older.

I found my work very interesting in the daily care centre where we did activities like crafts, going out for coffee and cooking. I really liked communicating with our patients. First it was challenging because of lack of common language.  Little by little using body language and learning basics of Greek it became a bit easier. I felt happy to see patients smiling and enjoying what we were doing during our workshops for example candles, keychains and wreaths to sell in the Easter and Christmas bazaars.  My supervisor, coordinator and mentor were always helpful and they tried in the best way to support us volunteers. It made me feel comfortable after a cultural shock in the beginning. It took me some time to get used to live far from home for the first time independently without my family and friends. Now I feel Greece as my home where I hope to go for a visit many times in the future.

Athens is a very interesting place to do EVS. After taking a look to all the touristic sights like Acropolis and museums it`s time head your way to a nice café, a restaurant or a bar. Athens is full of them. There is a lot of events and in the summer period it´s great to go to beach. It`s around half an hour from the city centre by bus or by tram. If you just have a chance you need to go also outside Athens. Greece has countless amounts of beautiful destinations, for instance islands Zakynthos, Santorini and Hydra are really worth visiting.  There are very unique places with different kind of nature. Also in the mainland are very interesting places like breathtaking Meteora with monasteries and mountains and the second biggest city of Greece, Thessaloniki.

EVS is an extremely exciting opportunity in the every field; it`s volunteering, new experiences, friends and growing up!

Matleena Kinnunen

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