My EVS in the Netherlands as a Svitac (Firefly) volunteer – Azra Pezerović
My coordinator at Svitac (Firefly) first told me about Don Bosco, and the whole monthly project they host annually, a couple of months prior to my application there. She said it’s an amazing opportunity, and that I just have to experience it. First step of the whole journey was going on an APV [Advance Planning Meeting], to spend a few days in the Netherlands, to get to know the people, and to learn a bit more about the project. I remember being so excited and nervous at the same time. When I was preparing for this journey I expected it to be fun. This would be the first time I would be out of the country ‘alone’ for one whole month, surrounded by a lot of new people, and experiencing things I had not had chance to experience before.
From the moment I stepped into the house, I knew, that it’s going to be an amazing month. Don Bosco is the kind of place that makes everyone feel like they are at home. No matter where you are from, or where you have been – that place is your home. Local volunteers and coordinators made sure that we had everything we needed upon arrival, right up to our saddening send-off. I have never felt so welcome in the company of complete strangers!
While being there I had the opportunity to work with teenagers. A lot of leaders say that teens are the most difficult age group to work with… well, not these ones. They were absolutely adorable and so inspiring. They were all totally involved in every activity we brought to their attention, and they all looked as though they enjoyed themselves, too.
The language barrier was not that difficult a hurdle to overcome, as a lot of them [staff and attendees] spoke English very well. Some of them even learned a little Bosnian, which was an unexpected, but incredibly welcome, surprise.
In the end, my coordinator was right. It was an amazing opportunity, and it was so much more than I could have ever expected.
Azra Pezerović, EVS volunteer, Svitac (Firefly)