Discovering a new country and new cultures… it is not always easy. Have you ever heard about cultural shock? At first you think, what am I going to do there? But coming to settle overnight in a place far from your comfort zone will immediately open your mind and bring you a lot of beautiful experiences.
The project in which I have participated focuses on rural development; two days per week I visited a small countryside village school to carry out workshops with the children. It is a very rewarding mission, the children are great, very kind and grateful, the days spent with them, honestly warms the heart.
During the rest of the time I was in town, with the other volunteers we worked in MultiKulti, the youth center managed by my host organization CID. The center is open and free for all, it receives many children and young people and offers a lot of different activities, so we did not have too much time to get bored. Sometimes I also traveled to rural areas to meet people and exchange with them, to learn more about what life in the countryside is like in this country.
These trips also allowed me to discover the landscapes. Macedonia, located in the center of the Balkan peninsula, is essentially a mountainous country, 34 peaks over 2000m, hills, forests, valleys … believe me, it’s beautiful!
I was lucky enough to make a lot of beautiful acquaintances; members of the organization, volunteer colleagues and local inhabitants, the latter are especially kind and delighted to receive foreigners (in a city where it is rather rare), so the welcoming was excellent. I also discovered that the relations between the different ethnic groups in the country are not good, the Albanian and Macedonian communities are really segregated. There is still enough to do, and it begins with the education to acceptance and tolerance.
Basically as you see, I’m pretty happy with the EVS adventure, It will be difficult to leave, I’m sure! Have I already told you that this is a highly recommended experience? If a project is close to your heart do not hesitate to invest yourself, it’s worth it 🙂