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Endpost: My volunteering experience.

Hi everyone, this will probably be the last post that I’ll write here. For those of you that don’t know: my name is Bart. I have been a volunteer at the Nõo youth center since November 2019, and my time here in Estonia is about to end in a few days. I wanted to talk about my experiences here for a bit, as well as say goodbye and give you a few tips on how to volunteer abroad.

Start and Finish
When I think about the first days, I clearly remember being on the train – a suitcase completely packed with clothes and other necessities next to me – looking around frantically and trying to get out of the train at the right stop. Finally, there it was: Nõo. A sleepy village with quite a bit of greenery. It was completely different from the noisy city I am from, but it certainly seemed like a nice change of pace. I met up with Egle, my colleague and tutor, who showed me around town and helped me get installed in my new home.

The first few days I was quite nervous, since I didn’t really know what I was doing and how the youths would react to me. At first my plan was to feel the atmosphere and see how things would go, trying to get to know the kids a little bit. Before I knew it, I found myself having full-on conversations and just enjoying connecting with the youths. I was very surprised at their high level of English, but it really helped me get more comfortable quickly.
My first days at the new house were a bit awkward, since I wasn’t used to living with cats. But I made some great feline friends!

A few weeks in I felt like I was doing fairly well, I felt pretty motivated to try out new things and even if I still felt a bit new to everything, it seemed to go alright. I believe my first project outside of the youth center was during two English lessons at the local school. I got to talk about the Netherlands and about myself a little bit, which was nice. It was also quite interesting to see how things worked outside of the youth center. After my first project outside of the youth center, I organised some other project days in Nõo Noortekeskus as well.

After the first two months I really started to get comfortable and quite enjoyed my time. I had made my first volunteering friends during the Arrival meeting, where volunteers all over Estonia gathered and had a few trainings together. I met them again during Christmas, and it was quite nice to be with people who are in a similar situation. Somewhere during the first week of the new year we made some Dutch Oliebollen (snack eaten by Dutch people during new year) and in February we celebrated my birthday by making 5 liters of chicken soup and egg- and tunasalad. Needless to say: I like cooking (the chicken soup was way too much, by the way). I did a few more projects here and there including a Dutch Game Day (where we played some traditional Dutch games – bite the cake was a hit), and the final project we did in-person was the Health week. This was a week where we talked about the health of the planet, physical health, mental health and much more. It was one of the bigger projects we did, and it was a lot of fun.

To infinity.. And beyond!
VolunTeers

During my last few months as a volunteer, Covid-19 made the youth center close. It really sucked, since I thought that I would be able to finish everything in a nice and personal way. Sadly, this was not the case. We put up an online discord server and started trying new things out and tried to run the youth center online. For now, I feel like it’s working.

You can find more information about my volunteering experience in this video:

Proud moments
I was quite happy to be able to teach the 5th graders and 9th graders at the local school on my own and have the space to do what I want. Even though I was nervous, I feel like I did quite well overall.
Asking for help with the things that I needed help with and getting it was very relieving, and I’m happy I did.
Much later in the volunteering project, my parents came to visit Nõo. I felt very proud to be able to show them what I had been up to.
Getting the ‘King of the Ducks’ stickers from a youngster at the youth center was also pretty nice. I really appreciated that!

What have I learned?
Although I really enjoyed working at the youth center, my development has been mostly on a personal level. I feel like even if I still have the same problems and continue to make some of the same mistakes, I do think I’ve grown a bit and learned how to deal with them a little bit better. I especially learned how to communicate better and that I shouldn’t be ashamed to ask for help. Overall, I feel like I’m happier with myself as a person and I really appreciate my time here.

If you want to try out volunteering outside or inside of the country as well, I’ve got a ton of links for you at the bottom of this post.

All in all, I feel like this volunteering project has had a positive inpact on my life. I just want to thank everyone for the support and show my appreciation for the youths at Nõo Noortekeskus. You’re great, all of you.







Hey Bart, that volunteering stuff sounds great! Where can I sign up?
Well, great to hear you’re interested! First you have to ask yourself a few questions though: do you want to volunteer in your own country or in a different country? I’ll just tell you right now, volunteering outside of your own country is a great way to broaden your horizons and see a different culture, but it’s also not something that you should take as lightly as going on holiday: you’re probably going to find out a lot about yourself, be it good or bad. It’s a great way to learn, however, and I’m pretty sure you can gain some life experience.

The next thing you should ask yourself is how long you would like to stay. Do you not have a lot of time? Then a youth exchange (noortevahetus) might be perfect for you! This is a cultural exhange abroad that lasts between 5 and 21 days. You can apply for a youth exchange from the moment you are 13 years old or older. You can find more information here:
https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/opportunities/individuals/young-people/youth-exchanges_en

If you have more time then the European Solidarity Corps (Euroopa Solidaarsuskorpus) might interest you more, since you as a volunteer would be staying in a different country from 2 to 12 months, depending on the project. You can apply from the age of 17 and go when you turn 18. You can find more information here:
https://europa.eu/youth/solidarity_en
This is the official site of the Solidarity Corps. It seems like a lot of information but look into the Frequently Asked Questions and hopefully you’ll gain some clarity.

Where do you sign up?
The first thing you should keep in mind is that there are multiple kinds of projects out there. The first three that come to mind are Youth Exchanges, Erasmus+ projects and the European Solidarity Corps. There are more kinds of projects out there, however, so make sure to look into it and find the one most suitable for you.

Here are a few websites to help you get on the way:

If this all seems a little bit complicated, don’t worry! There are a lot of organisations that organise these youth exchanges and other projects. They can definitely help you along with making the right choice. I’ll list a few Estonian ones here, but it definitely pays off to search for some yourself as well:

  • https://www.nyh.ee/
    This is the organisation that took me in during my time here. I personally recommend them because they keep in contact and provide you with good, personal guidance.
  • https://estyes.ee/estyes/organisatsioon/
    Estyes seems to pop up quite often, and a friend of mine talked about how it is a good organisation, so here we go.

Another way of getting a volunteering project is going to the European Youth Portal and finding a project there. I would recommend to find an organisation in your country first though.
https://europa.eu/youth/EU_en

I hoped this information helped you along! Have a nice day, and I’ll see you around.
-Bart

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Room for Thought

Good afternoon from an appartment in Tartu. We’ve been in quarantine since the 13th of March, almost a month by now. It might not be the most fun thing to do and honestly I would prefer to be working at the youth center right now. But we’ve got to hold on to stop the spread of the virus as much as we can, for the people we love and those who are less fortunate. I have always been an indoors kind of person, but even I get bored of being inside after some time. We try to go outside as little as possible (a walk once every two days and going tot he grocery store) and always desinfect our hands and faces after going outside. It feels like we’re in a science fiction movie at times.

What I think is the worst side-effect of all of this is that I don’t feel like doing anything, it’s just a pretty demotivating situation. I’d just spend hours and hours on my phone or gaming and lately I feel like I want to make the most of my last few weeks here. And so, I put an app on my phone that checks my time and locks certain apps whenever I go over the time that I allowed to myself and try to do other things I like to do instead. I’ve started picking up reading again after a few years of barely reading anything and I’m trying to start writing. What I would like to do is start to learn how to program, even if it’s just a little bit. It makes me quite sad that I probably won’t be able to see the youths anymore during my time here, because I really appreciate the time we spent at the youth center. Oh well, it’s for a good cause.


My family back home is less fortunate than we are here. Thankfully, none of them are sick as of now. There have been 148 confirmed cases of people with the coronavirus in my city alone, with almost twenty thousand confirmed cases nationwide. Twothousand of those people have died. Those are some scary numbers, especially if you consider that the situation isn’t that bad in the Netherlands. I’m quite worried about my family, especially about my grandparents and my mother, who works in the local hospital. Thankfully, I keep regular contact (skype, videocalling) with them and I know that they’re okay.
Alright, that’s it from me. I hope you all have a nice day and stay strong out there. It may be boring but trust me, you’re going to be fine. Take proper care of yourself, make the most of the situation and enjoy the weather – from your backyard or balcony 😊

-Bart

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Kauneid lihavõtteid ehk munadepühi!

Meisterdame midagi lahedat!

Kui tavaliselt oleme värvinud mune noortekeskuses, siis see aasta on natuke teisiti.

Tee ise wc paberi rullisisust munahoidja või korvike.

Joonista, värvi, kleebi, voldi…….

Tee endale peavõru jänes, tibu või mõni muu äge loomake.

Tee enda meisterdamisest, joonistamisest, munade värvimisest pilt või pildid ja postita, et saaksime koos munadepühi tähistada.

Head munade koksimist!!!!!

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#püsikodus

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Tee endale ise päevakava ning püüa seda järgida. Päevakava peaks algama õigeaegsest ärkamisest ja lõppema õigeaegse magamaminekuga. Õppimisaeg võiks vahelduda puhkamise, söömise ja liikumisega nii toas kui ka õues. Ära arva, et parem on kõik koolitööd järjest ära teha ja alles siis süüa, puhata või liikuda! Liigutamine annab sulle uut energiat, aitab mõtted koondada ja laseb seni õpitul paremini meelde jääda. Tähtis on süüa kolm korda päevas korralikult ja vahepeal vahepalasid (näiteks õun või muu puuvili). Teistega koos olla praegu ei saa, aga õues värske õhu käes peab ikka käima. Näiteks oma hoovis mängimas või koeraga jalutamas – võta ette tavapärasest pikemaid ringe, külasta uusi kohti või tänavaid.

Helista oma vanaemale, vanaisale ja sõpradele, aga ära saa nendega kokku. Meil kõigil on praegu raske, et me ei saa kodust väljas käia, vanavanemaid külastada või sõpradega koos olla. Kuid praegu on omaette hoidmine väga tähtis. Isegi siis, kui arvad, et sinu sõber on terve ja sina ise ka, võite üksteist nakatada koroonaviirusega. Mõnel inimesel võib koroonaviirus olla nii, et ta seda ise ei tea – palavik ja köha pole veel tekkinud või ei tekigi. Õnneks on tänapäeval palju võimalusi sõprade ja vanavanematega ühenduses olla: telefon, Messenger jne. Rääkige omavahel – mida sina arvad ja tunned, mida kardad, kuidas sul kaugõppega läheb, mida vabal ajal kodus teed, rääkige nalju ja anekdoote.

 Kui kodus hakkab igav, siis mõtle, mida oled alati tahtnud teha? Kas oled tahtnud rohkem raamatuid lugeda? Loe nüüd! Võib-olla oled tahtnud proovida kunsti või muusikat teha? Selleks on nüüd aega! Võib-olla tahaksid trenni teha ja tugevamaks saada – selleks on internetis palju videoid, mille järgi treenida. Alati on abi ka perega koos tegutsemisest. Kui ema-isa või õed-vennad pole tegevusi välja pakkunud ja sul on igav, siis paku ise midagi toredat välja. Näiteks ühine lauamäng, Lego ehitamine või puslede panemine (neid on erineva raskusega, igale vanusele), koos uute toitude kokkamine.

Noortekeskus pakub ka igavuse vastu võitlemiseks põnevaid üleskutseid, meisterdamisi, märkamisi siin:

BLOGi: www.n6onoortekas.wordpress.com

FB: https://www.facebook.com/N6onoortekas/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/n6onoor/

Loe veel SIIT!

 

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Indoor Activity: The Word Generator Challenge.

Hi! My name is Bart and today I have a challenge for you. Go to a random word generator (for example: https://randomwordgenerator.com/), pick 1, 2 or 3 words and make a drawing out of these words. Then, share your drawing with us at noortekeskus@nvv.ee, in the FB mailbox, or share in instagram #n6onoor.

Here is my example: I got the words ‘artist’ and ‘light’. I tried to recreate the look you get with long-exposure cameras and light. As for the ‘artist’-part, I decided to make the lines seem like the frame of a painting.

 

We hope you’ll enjoy this challenge, good luck and have fun!

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Noortekas kolib kaheks nädalaks NETTI!

koomiks1

Koolitöö toimub alates tänasest e-õppena ja kuna noortekeskus on ka füüsiliselt kinni, siis otsustasime meiegi endale põneva väljakutse esitada ning NOORTEKESKUS NETTI KOLIDA!

Alates tänasest, iga päev hiljemalt kella 14.00ks on nii noortekeskuse kodulehel http://www.n6onoortekas.wordpress.com kui ka sotsiaalmeedia kanalites ning Nõo Põhikooli raamatukogu kanalites põnev uus väljakutse, ülesanne, vaba aja veetmis võimalus, meisterdamis- või põnevate kohtade uurimise soovitus. Neid jagavad meie noorsootöötajad Egle ja Egle, välisvabatahtlik Bart ning Kadri Sildnik Nõo Põhikooli raamatukogust.

Kui koolitükid tehtud, siis viska pilk peale ja tee meiega koos see põnev eksperiment läbi!

Kaunist kevadeootust ja jääge terveks 🙂

Päev 1: Koomiks “Minu päev”

Mina katsetasin täna näiteks koomiksi tegemist. Selleks on mitmeid põnevaid võimalusi – online keskkond, lavastatud pildiseeriad, joonistamine. Vali endale meelepärane ja pane kokku üks koomiks sinu tänasest päevast ning saada see meile noortekeskus@nvv.ee, FB postkasti või tagi instagramis #n6onoor. Kui lubad, siis jagame sinu saadetud koomiksit siinsamas ka teistele!

Mõned soovitused,  kus koomikseid internetis luua on näiteks SIIN! või SIIN! Oma piltidest saad koomiksi kokku panna näiteks SIIN! või joonista see paberile ja tee pilti!

Põnevat loomingulist katsetamist ja näidake siis meile ka, milline see esimene päev oli, mil noortekeskus internetti kolis.

Päikest,
Egle H.