My name is Jakob Donath, I am 18 years old and I come from Germany. On the 1st of September 2015 I started my voluntary service in Daugavpils.
I got in touch with the idea of doing a voluntary service pretty early since both of my stepbrothers did one. They both travelled to South America (Peru, Bolivia) and they really liked their time there. So when I finished school in May 2015 I couldn’t imagine going to university immediately after that, I didn’t feel ready at all. Additionally, I didn’t want to sit in university after 12 years in school, I wanted to see something of the world. EVS offers me the opportunity not only to get to know new cultures and people but also to get some valuable experiences in terms of social work and project management.
At first I applied for a lot of northern countries (Iceland, Sweden, Finland, Estonia and Latvia), but it soon turned out that my sending organisation IJGD in Magdeburg offered the best projects. IJGD is a partner of my coordinating organization ODIN/ VITA. After getting in contact with them, I got accepted very soon and there where no obstacles for my time here.
When I have arrived In Daugavpils, I got a very warm welcome by my fellow flatmates Louisa, Telmo and Lydia, so I felt at home very fast. I work at the 17. middle school in Daugavpils. My tasks are to prepare workshops and extracurricular activities for the pupils there. I think this wouldn’t be possible for me without my partners Sarah and Beate, who make every single workday quite pleasant. Of course we had to face some starting difficulties (my Russian isn’t quite existing at the moment), but I am pretty confident that everything will get right, since the people in our school are very kind and never hesitate to help us.
So I have to say that I am really looking forward to master all the challenges of the year and I am very sure I will enjoy my time here a lot.
See you soon
My name is Beate, I come from Düsseldorf (Germany) and since the beginning of September, I work and live as a volunteer in Daugavpils.
After having finished my Bachelor’s degree (ok, I’m still waiting for the results but who cares?!) in intercultural communication, I wanted to go abroad for about one year in the framework of a European Voluntary Service (EVS). I applied at several sending organisations for projects in Eastern Europe and finally received a positive answer from ijgd (Internationale Jugendgemeinschaftsdienste) in May.
Since the beginning of my application process, I thought of doing my voluntary service in one of the Baltic countries. Documentaries drew my attention on these countries a while ago and I was curious about life, language and culture in this part of Europe. When I read about the project in the 17th Middleschool of Daugavpils, I was very happy to see that I could discover Latvia while doing a work for which I can use my skills acquired during my studies and side jobs.
My work consists in offering language courses as well as activities such as theatre to the pupils of my hosting school. Presentations about my home country, Germany, are also part of my work. If there is enough time, I also work on projects conceived by fellow volunteers of the town. For instance, I am taking part in a project called „Old paintings, new pictures“ which has been planned by an Austrian volunteer in Daugavpils. I’ll report about this project in the upcoming weeks!
When I am not working, I like to travel a bit around Daugavpils. As I am only here since 3 weeks, I have not already seen that much. Nevertheless, I have already managed to go to Vilnius and Rezekne (as well as its surroundings). Now, I hope to get myself a bike soon and discover Latvia in a sporty way 😉
During my EVS I had 2 training I attended. The first training (on-arrival) was in January and helped me to get more information about the tasks of my project and the people involved and of course I get to know a lot of volunteers that are in the same situation as me. Now that I already spent half of my service it was time for my mid-term-training. Continue reading
My name is Telmo, I’m 21 and at the moment I’m an EVS volunteer in a Russian speaking city in Latvia, called Daugavpils.
I made the decision of becoming a volunteer back in Portugal (where I’m from) immediately after the first time I heard about these kind of projects. I searched a suitable project based on my ideals and after applying for 5 different projects in 5 different countries such as Bulgaria, Turkey, Lithuania, Latvia (of course) and Ukraine, I received the news that I was accepted here.
The idea of going abroad was on my mind for a long time, but the weeks before arriving in Latvia were really stressful and with a lot of doubts since I was afraid that I wouldn’t like it here, but right after 2 weeks everything got better, I got used to the people, the places and the different ways of thinking and acting and the new life in general.
During one year, from March 2015 until March 2016, I’m working as a volunteer in a youth center called “Fortuna” where children come freely and spend their time doing all sorts of ludic activities, my job here as a volunteer consists in prepare and perform activities for them, such as games, crafts, drawings, paintings, dances, songs and even events not only for the kids but also for the community in general.
After almost 3 months that I’m here I can say that I have a strong relation with the kids which is something I deeply appreciate. The language barrier is easily put aside when working with these children; we always have a way to make us understand each other.
Write to you soon,
My name is Louisa Asfour, I’m from Germany and since the first of March, I live as a volunteer in Daugavpils, Latvia.
Why am I a volunteer? I graduated from school last year and didn’t want to study immediately afterwards, but instead go abroad, experience something new and also do some social work. So I applied for an EVS – short for “European Voluntary Service” and got presented several projects in different countries of which I liked most the one in Latvia. Thus, I sent an application for this project to the coordinator of my sending organisation Via e.V. and shortly after, I got accepted. I didn’t know much about the country before I arrived here so everything was quite new for me, but as far as I can say, I really like this country as well as my project in Daugavpils. As my hosting organisation, Odin/Vita coordinates a lot for me, e.g. providing a flat and money for daily supplies.
I work in the office of the RFZ (“Regionales Fortbildungszentrum für deutsche Sprache und Landeskunde”) together with my superior Marina Rumjanceva. We prepare and realise different kinds of events concerning German language and culture all around the year, e.g. the series of events “Deutschland meines Herzens” which took place in April. It included projects in kindergardens, schools, in the university and also in public areas and we had a wide span of visitors. We’re also planning a similar event for upcoming September where I’ll get support by another volunteer who arrives in August.
Apart from my work, I also get regular language courses together with my Portuguese flatmate Telmo. As Russian is a very dominant language here in Daugavpils, we both decided to learn the basics of this language. But of course you also get to know some Latvian in your everyday life as all the public signs, restaurant menues and informational sheets are in Latvian. I only hope I won’t mix up the two languages… 😉
Of course, I want to see more of Latvia and the Baltic states than only Daugavpils. I already did some small trips on the weekend to see some of the most popular cities – Rīga, Vilnius and Liepāja – but there’s still a lot to come and I look forward to travel more in summer when we’ll be able to enjoy swimming in the beautiful Baltic Sea.
So much about me – I will keep you updated about my plans and projects.
Until the next time!
Mein Name ist Claudia, ich bin 24 und ich bin derzeit eine Freiwillige bei ODIN/VITA. Vom 1.12.2014 bis 31.10.2015 werde ich nun in Daugavpils leben.
In Deutschland habe ich bereits meinen Bachelor (Pädagogik der Kindheit, Erziehungswissenschaft) und Master (Erziehungswissenschaft- Innovation und Management im Bildungswesen) abgeschlossen. Das war letzten Sommer und da ich schon seit Jahren überlegt hatte, ins Ausland zu gehen, dachte ich, dass ich jetzt endlich mal die Chance nutzen sollte und habe mich für einen EFD beworben. Meine Organisation in Deutschland VIA e.V. (http://www.via-ev.org/) hat mir dann 9 frei Plätze angeboten und dieses in Lettland hat mich am meisten angesprochen. Also habe ich spontan meine Koffer gepackt und saß nicht mal 2 Monate später im Flieger nach Riga. Continue reading
Right now there are 3 EVS-Volunteers in Daugavpils which are coordinated by ODIN/VITA. Louisa is from Germany and works at the RFZ (Regionales Fortbildungszentrum für deutsche Sprache und Landeskunde) at the University of Daugavpils, Telmo from Portugal works in the youth center Fortuna and I, Claudia, am from Germany and work in the office of ODIN/VITA. This blog will give you an insight in our lifes as volunteers. But what exactly does EVS mean? Continue reading