Hi. My name is Mane. I am from the EVS generation that had to go through COVID-19 pandemic. In my previous article, I was speaking about how important my EVS opportunity was for me. In this article, I want to speak about the challenges I had to overcome during my stay.
Most of us have a very bright understanding of how nice it is to experience living in another country. In addition, the understanding is true, with just one BUT. What about the difficulties?
Looking back to my experience I want to conform that I can’t name the whole experience with one word because it differs each month and sometimes even each week and day because of my emotions at that moment.
For me the most difficult has been the first month of my stay in Denmark. During the first week I was the happiest person in the world. From the second week I was the saddest and unhappiest one. And you know what? I was even already looking for a flight back. I was crying almost the whole day alone in my room. It was awfully cold and during my working hours I was 80% outside with children. And obviously as a usual Armenian, I did not have any clothes fitting the northern weather. That made me even more depressed. I was so depressed that everything seemed fucked up. And yeah, my one and only goal was to come back as soon as possible.
However, I didn’t come back. I stayed. And it was the best decision ever. In a week I started feeling better and better, started noticing the nice things surrounding me. And in the middle of my stay I was the happiest person ever again. I remember that during my midterm training organized for the EVS/ESC participants, to the question how I feel and how they can help me I answered: “Everything is fine, could not be better”. So it was just a week or so that everything was gray. If you can overcome it, believe me your stay will become one of your brightest adventures ever.
Speaking about the language barrier, I did not have that problem out of my working hours, because everyone in Denmark understands English and speaks at least a bit. But I can’t say the same about the kindergarten I was working in. The staff knew English and spoke it quite good. I should say that the kindergarten was hiring only those pedagogues who know English and would like to work with EVS/ESC volunteers. But obviously I can’t say the same about the children.
The first group I was working with was around 4 years. All the children were really sweet and wanted to connect with me. And I felt so bad every time they came to me, hold my hand and started to tell me something and I couldn’t understand or answer. Some of them even thought I am dumb. Untill I learnt the language a bit and was able to connect with them.
And the last challenge I want to speak about is obviously COVID-19. We went to travel in Finland in the middle of March and my friend was going to host us. The organization he was working in was so afraid that gave him a week vacation to be sure we were not infected. Fortunately, we were not. But everything did not end here.
While we were travelling in Finland, we got news that Denmark was closing its borders. Such a nice thing to hear We were, shocked, afraid. There was a high possibility that our flight would be cancelled and we would have to stay in Finland. But, fortunately, it wasn’t cancelled and, as we had residence permit, we didn’t have problem crossing the border. (Here I want to add that the kindergarten staff was ready to pick us up in Germany or Switzerland with their cars).
But we had another problem. I had to make a fast decision of staying in Denmark or leaving Denmark within the next 2 days. With my eyes infected, when I was hardly opening them, I left Denmark with the last flight to Moscow at the end of March with the hope of getting back to Denmark at the end of April. But as you know the border never opened and for you to understand, half of my clothes are still in Denmark.
Have a nice experience and don’t focus on difficulties. They are never permanent.