My EVS/ESC in Germany as a Svitac (Firefly Bosnia) volunteer – Emir Mujić
The “Festival Summer” volunteer project was a team volunteer activity that took place from 25th May to 24th July with 14 participants from 8 different European countries (Italy, Spain, France, Ireland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Greece, Bosnia and Hercegovina, and hosting German team). The event was organized by the European Youth Educational Center Magdeburg and GOEUROPE!
For two months in Magdeburg, the group’s main task was to work as “Living Books” during many events in the Saxony-Anhalt region and especially two music festivals: Splash! and MELT. As a “living book”, each volunteer was a representative of their country, their hobbies and experiences regarding youth mobility. Thus, they presented and promoted European work and youth mobility to Saxony-Anhalt youth.
My personal experience:
My experience with this project started with a lot of surprises. My flight was delayed without notice so we just waited for the plane as if we were at a bus station without knowing when it would arrive. After that „lovely experience“, the train I was taking needed 30 minutes longer (than described on the website) to reach the destination. And the final surprise happened after I ran to the bus station and finally found my bus – the driver greeted me in fluent Bosnian “Pa Emire đe si ti do sad” (Well, Emir, where are you till now?).
Lejla was my partner from Bosnia and I met her a few seconds after that legendary bus driver greeted me and everything else is history. I now have a sister from another mother (even if she acts more like a brother). A few days after the start of the project, we went to the “Saxony-Anhalt Days” festival in Quedlinburg where we had our first “Living Books” experience. It was very interesting and we were there for the whole 3 days. We had a small river to rest and cool down during the breaks. The organizers provided language classes to help us learn at least the basics of German and how to survive independently in non-English speaking areas. After two months, the highlight of my German language ability was to ask “Wo ist Penny?” (“Where’s Penny”, Penny is the supermarket).
We practised how to be good „Living Books“ and how to break stereotypes about our countries and cultures. We learned how to introduce young people to opportunities and encourage them to seek opportunities and how to go abroad on a different project. We developed new skills and learned about different cultures. We participated at several other small festivals before going to Splash! and MELT.
During the last two festivals, we have been hard-working, very active, BUT during the night we have been hardcore party animals. Of course, that didn’t stop us from being even more active the next day.
We have confirmed some stereotypes and we have broken some. I have confirmed at least two, one is that we Bosnians can build anything. When the organizers said they would like to have a wheel, I volunteered for the task without any questions, so we had a wheel before the next festival. For the second stereotype, I’ll let you guess …
The Honorable Mention goes tooooo……. MILOŠ POPIĆ, the project coordinator of the Svitac (Firefly Bosnia), the sending organization, as he is the perfect coordinator. For my part, I got really good preparation and support for this project and didn’t even notice that we talked for over an hour. He kind of feels when he needs to send a message to his participant just to cheer him up. Communication with him was clear and never boring or tiring.
Special thanks to the Svitac (Firefly Bosnia) for being my sending organization. I would recommend such projects to any young person who wants to learn, travel, gain new knowledge and experiences.
Emir Mujić , EVS/ESC volunteer, Svitac (Firefly Bosnia)
May – July 2019