FINAL THOUGHTS ON MY VOLUNTEERING EXPERIENCE JUNE 15, 2014

Zdravo everyone!

It has now been two weeks since I finished my project, packed my bags and left Slovenia. So I guess now is the time for me to share my final reflections and conclusions of my time as an EVS-volunteer in the Mladinski dom Jarše organization.

The decision to come to Slovenia was very quick and spontaneous so I did not really have any expectations at all and that is also better because then there is no chance of disappointment. When looking back now I can for sure say that there was only one great disappointment and that was that three months was not enough time. Before I arrived, I was telling people that I am going to live in Slovenia for a while and I realized that many of them don't know one single thing about Slovenia and that some think it is an unsafe, poor Eastern- European country where one should be careful while visiting. All I can say is - Oh how wrong they are! Slovenia is a pearl in Europe that more people should get to experience. Slovenia but in particular, Ljubljana will from now on always be yet another city that I can call home and that I can always come back to revisit.

There are many things I got to take with me when I left. Lots of important experiences like for example working in the field of social work and with youngsters. My previous experiences of that was only some shorter camps so I really learned a lot. Apart from the experiences I think that the most memorable thing will be all the absolutely wonderful, friendly, hospitable and helpful people I met. My co-workers were always a great help for me in understanding the work and structure of the organization but also in explaining and discussing for example the small incomprehensible cultural differences, that I didn't understand. All the youngsters also gave me a most important thing, they gave me themselves, they opend up their lives and welcomed me in. That is something I will never forget.

In return of everything I received during my three months stay, I hope and think I managed to encourage and help people to realize that it is not impossible to get past their language barriers and start using their knowledge of English and other languages. Hopefully I also inspired some youngsters to in the future engage in some kind of international projects, like youth exchanges, volunteering or seminars. To travel, see the world, challenge themselfs and grow as individuals. Another goal I had, that I think I managed to fullfill, was to brighten up the everyday life of workers and youngsters. Finally I also hope that I convinced at least some people that it is a good idea to also in the future welcome more volunteers in the organization. :)

Take care all of you until ''se vidimo'' again!

/Melina Saari

P.s. I will also make a photo post here on the blog, to show you some of the highlights of my months in and around Slovenia. But for that one you will have to wait until I have sorted out my photos. D.s.