ESK: Struggles and Fears

Eliza erzählt von den Hochs und Tiefs eines ESK`s

When you come to a new place, first days you are in awe because everything is new and so interesting. Scientists in cultural shock call this phase ‘a Honeymoon’ and it’s really like that, right? But then you are starting to get that some of these things are hard for you to understand. For me, it was supermarkets that closing at 6-7 pm and don’t work on Sundays at all. Back in Ukraine, I was living in Kyiv and some of grocery shops were open 24/7. So, yes, it was indeed a bit shocking. And also, like why would anybody do their laundry in the basement, ha? It honestly doesn’t make any sense to me. But that’s okay. Everybody will just accept it anyway, it’s always like that. Every country has its own habits and rules. At first, we find it inconvenient and even strange but then we just have to get over it.

The other thing that frustrates me a lot is language. So, if you are reading this and thinking to do a volunteer service then I really advise you to learn the language of the country you would like to go. It will be really good to have A2 level or more. But if you are already do, then it will make your stay in new country a bit easier. Yes, you can do a lot with English but if you know local language it’s much better. It’s not obligatory, of course, it’s up to you.

Some people are also afraid of loneliness and homesickness. Well, I totally understand this but I think it depends on what kind of person you are. If you lived on your own for quite some time, then It won’t be a big case for you. And if you didn’t, then it’s chance for you to get to know yourself and to see how it will go. If you feel like missing home then try to do things that you usually did home or bring item. Personally, I don’t have anything that reminds me of home, but I try to buy something small that makes me happy somehow. It also works.

Don’t forget that you can make friends in a new country! You will meet other volunteers and it’s a perfect occasion to make international friends! Sounds good, doesn’t it? I can’t tell that I’ve already made a lot of friends but, I prefer to think that it’s all ahead of me.

For example, during lockdown volunteers had a few online-meetings where you can just have a chat with people from different countries. It’s fun and relaxing at the same time. Thanks to one of this meeting now I know that Greece is also orthodox country. I’ve actually never thought of religion in Greece, but for some reason it was a surprise to me. It’s just an example of how you can explore things even during such hard times.

So, don’t be afraid and explore the world!


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