Three months ago, when I arrived to Kumanovo, I did not know much about the country, let alone the city, I had just moved in. Having finished my Masters degree in International Migrations and Ethnic Relations and having worked in a transit-center in Sweden, I was keen on seeing how the refugee-situation looked like in the southern Europe, in so-called transit-countries. The EVS project about Acceptance and tolerance hosted by CID, aiming to raise awareness of refugees and increase tolerance among the young Macedonians, sounded like a perfect opportunity for me to gain some professional experience and to get to know a new country. Now, after three months I feel like home here in Kumanovo and wish that I could stay longer; there would still be so much to do, to learn and to experience. One thing is for sure; I will be back to Balkans very soon!
During these three months I have worked in the Tabanovce refugee-camp with LEGIS, organizing different activities for children (from crafts to sports and language-classes to writing postcards), observing the conditions in the camp and sharing my experiences by writing articles, having workshops in a high-school about the topic and organizing events like photo-exhibition, living library and a public debate for the habitants of Kumanovo. On top of that, with other EVS volunteers, we have organized activities such as language exchanges, movie nights and creative workshops in the MultiKулти youth center.
One of the best things about the EVS is the opportunity to work on a project of your interest, on something you believe in and feel like you can contribute to. Apart from gaining professional experience and having a chance to discover a new country, the best thing about EVS is working with people from various backgrounds, creating contacts that can be useful in the future (professionally speaking), and making lots of new, amazing friends, both with locals and other EVS’ from around the world. Now, after three months I feel like home here in Kumanovo and wish that I could stay longer; there would still be so much to do, to learn and to experience. One thing is for sure; I will be back to Balkans very soon!
Story written by Jannika Jyrkinen, Finnish EVS volunteer in Kumanovo, Macedonia in our group organization CID Macedonia.
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