Her name is Ivana and she is from a heart of Europe – Slovakia. She lived in Czech Republic last few years but now she is enjoying Bulgarian tropical paradise! Why did she move to Varna? What does she do here? See Ivana´s answers and read more about herEVS experience on our blog!
Ivka, could you introduce yourself to us?
Hello, I am Ivana, it is written that I have got a Slovak nationality in my ID, but I think of myself more as a citizen of universe and then, if necessary to state a nationality, Czechoslovak. Some people say my mental age is around 10 years old but who knows, maybe I have already been here for centuries.
Why did you choose EVS? What was your main reason?
After years of studying and one year of full-time working experience I wanted to do something with a meaning (according to my criterias) and I also needed more time for my own interests. EVS was the easiest solution – you have more free time than full-time employed person and projects are (or should be) socially relevant with a purpose of common good.
Why did you choose Bulgaria and why exactly Varna?
I wanted to go volunteering to one of Balkan countries. A problem was that I was not looking for EVS projects in advance. In February I quit my job, in March I started to search for projects and I wanted to start volunteering in May as latest. If you have no plan, Bulgaria is a good choice, because it´s a country of improvisations. To be honest, I think I was lucky to find the project of Vasilica in the mood of last minute panic, because it matches some of my interests. Location near the sea was just a bonus.
What is a main purpose of Vasilica ? Can you tell us more about this organisation ?
Vasilica is a small organization which has 3 main types of activities on its agenda:
1. Donations to poor families (e.g. donations of clothes, school supplies, … );
2. Educational activities with children – especially creating little things (e.g. dolls, decorations, … ) but also other activities;
3. Creating things for selling as a form of funding.
A purpose of Vasilica is to help especially socially disadvantaged children and families and this is something very much needed in Bulgaria. An office is located near a very poor part of Varna with many people not only of Bulgarian, but also of Roma and Turkish origin.
How does your daily routine in Varna look like?
Well, I usually wake up around 5:30, after breakfast I read book(s) and I have got my first training. After that I do my volunteering job – most of the time I am with children doing creative and artistic activities, playing sport or games, learning or just spending time together. After work the second training (this is an ideal, sometimes I am lazy) and I read again, draw or just think and dream. It´s 23:00 and my bed wants to hug me. Whole day I am in contact with beings I love, otherwise I wouldn´t survive. Sorry, guys, I am not a party animal – but no worries, for that we´ve got other awesome volunteers here!
What are the biggest differences between Varna and a city you lived in before?
Last few years I lived in Brno, Czech Republic. A huge difference is poverty, which is bigger in Varna than in Brno. When I arrived in Varna I was amazed by horses and carriages you can see on a daily basis in the streets. A gypsy man, a horse and a carriage – this is a very romantic picture according to my mind, like the picture from the past when gypsies and horses used to be the best friends. Then you see a boy running after the carriage collecting rubbish instead of going to school or playing soccer. And if you look better, sometimes that boy hasn´t got even shoes.
People in Bulgaria are also different. When I arrived I thought everybody was shouting and everybody was angry with me. Later when I started to understand a little bit of Bulgarian I noticed they are just telling me nice words (well, not always ;)) in a very loudly way. I have to admit that even after 7 months I am not used to this style of communication perfectly.
Would you like to tell us something more ?
If you plan to stay longer time in Bulgaria and you are dealing with a question of life and death -´Should I bring my road bike with me or not? -, my reply is: Bring it! It´s possible to find good roads here and you will have a chance to explore Bulgarian countryside and magical villages with their beauties. (But be prepared for many punctures!)
Today we would like to introduce you our new volunteer from Germany. His name is Jarik Kopper and he has already been in Varna for seven weeks. Who is this mysterious young man? Let´s see in our interview!
Hello Jarik ! Please tell us something about you!
Hi, I am Jarik, doing my EVS here in Varna with “Василица“. I am 18 years old and I come from Wunstorf, a small ancient (!), let’s call it “city” near Hannover. Here I used to live with my family, studied at High School and of course enjoyed some leisure time (which wasn’t that less after finishing High School). I am a big fan of playing piano, going running and scouting.
Why did you choose EVS ? What was your main reason ? Why did you choose Bulgaria and why exactly Varna ?
After finishing High School I realised that I am still not really sure what to do next, but I was really interested in doing some volunteering service (connected to some social work), exploring Eastern Europe with its people and culture and finally I also had the secret hope to get to some little less rainy, warmer and bigger city. So when I checked for some projects I quickly found out about the EVS and I really liked the idea of exploring some new country by volunteering. The VIA, a German organisation supporting the EVS, then proposed me the project of Василица which seemed to be quite interesting and when I checked about Bulgaria with its very different culture and especially about Varna as an international destination at the Black Sea, I decided that this could be a nice option for the first year after school.
What have you already experienced in Varna ? How long are you in Varna ?
I am living in Varna now since1,5 months but my first experience I already had while I was still in Germany and applying for the project: I was applying for Василица in May and since that I was waiting for the response of the Bulgarian national agency: It became June, July, August until I finally got the acceptance. Probably in this case it isn’t only a Bulgarian problem but in some kind it is typical for Bulgarian lifestyle which is often much more relaxed than for example in Germany. But although this little more “relaxed lifestyle” can be kind of annoying from time to time, I have to say that I am starting to enjoy this “Bulgarian lifestyle” – although mean tongues will maybe say I have been always living Bulgarian lifestyle and I am becoming to Bulgarian now – and I mean this life style has lots of advantages: Busses are stopping even if you are not standing at the bus station, the pressure of being all the time on time is missing and in the beginning of last century even one Bulgarian president only survived an attack on himself because he came late to the event where they planned to kill him – so if this isn’t convincing – I don’t know…the Turkish and Bulgarian community in Bulgaria and the problem of corruption is really obvious here.
What is a main purpose of your EVS ? Do you like it ? How do you usually spend your time with kids? How old are the children?
At the moment I am doing my EVS together with Oliver and Ivana at the primary school “Васил Левски” in Аспарухово, the most south part of Varna. Purpose of the project is to create some programme for the kids during their breaks and to support them with their homework if necessary. I am for example offering piano lessons, doing language competitions or support them at their English homework. Although we had not less coordinating problems in the beginning and kids can really claim your energy if they have planned their own projects for us volunteers I am mostly pretty enjoying this kind of work because we have so much possibilities for creating programmes and grace to all this still very interested children at school each day is guaranteeing some new, surprising experiences.