I think that you can never realize how fast time flies until you experience your EVS, and the truth is that this acknowledge is not so funny to receive, since you start to feel it mostly when you’re about to end the project and you start considering all the things that you could have done and you didn’t, feeling that you hadn’t profit your stay or that you hadn’t squeezed enough the EVS. Truth is that you’re kind of biased of reasoning since the end is approaching. Luckily for the volunteers, the fact of having to make a Youth pass can bring us back to reality and face all the things that we have done, and all the new skills learned. So basically, everything that the EVS has made a little impact on our lives, and let me tell you, the list isn’t too short.
You might wonder with my post today starts like this. Well, this post will be the last one from my side. Writing today on my 200th day of the EVS means that there are just 10 days left to enjoy, deliver activities, pack all my stuff and leave IPC once and for all (and we still haven’t even started the Alumni Summer Camp!). It is a strange mix of feelings what I’m experiencing right now. From one side I can’t neglect the fact that I’m sad to leave IPC which it has been my home for the past 7 months but on the other side, I can’t wait to see the future projects and enrol in new adventures, mostly thanks to the self-confidence boost obtained during the EVS. But who would believe it? 200 days flew by and I’m still feeling like it was yesterday when I landed in Denmark with my big luggage and my brain full of ideas for the Human Rights Café. Some of them have become a reality and some of them will still remain undone. So, this post will be a bit different from the previous ones, I will start making a little recap of the major events that happened since the last post and then, I will do a little overview and personal evaluation of the EVS – like a goodbye letter.
Since the last recap I made, some events happened. As you know the last post ended with the hopes that we (Glënn & I) had for the midterm training, and from here I would like to thank Cecilia and Tobias, trainers from the NA, for an amazing job and reaching all expectations. For the midterm training, we were gathered in CPH with the other EVS volunteers in Denmark. The excursion to Christiania was the ultimate highlight, having the chance to experience it from the locals’ point of view. And we discovered a different side of CPH – the ultimate side was to experience “Distortion” just in the street in front of the hostel we were staying in, speechless. We had also started discussing the Youth Pass during the last day of the training. And as for the other volunteers, there was a strange mix of feelings, on one side it was wonderful to meet all again, on the other one, it was so sad to not know when we will meet again. Hopefully, the project of the EVS volunteers’ reunion will become a reality in the few upcoming years.
The training worked as a boost of energy for Glënn & I to start working on the last activities we wanted to do before the end of the term. We did the activity “One album, one canvas and 100 doodlers”, the result of which is now hanging in the basement next to the HRC – a collaboration between Glënn & the art club to create with the students of the term, something extremely unique – and they clearly achieved it.
A week later, on June 5, 2019, I had the chance to be the “teacher” of “Exploring Denmark” – of course, the topic was linked to my passion (and my personal EVS project) so the class I taught was nothing else than “CSR in Denmark”. As a difference with the previous workshop that I made during alternative weeks, this was more focused to be as a class, so the students would just listen to the theoretical framework and then we would go to the analysis of some major renown Danish companies such as LEGO, Maersk or Carlsberg.
Other events happened such as the chill afternoon with Mandalas and life discussion proposed by one of the students and the special session for the movie club – a movie with no eyes, where Glënn decided to project a movie just having its sound and nothing else to understand it. It could seem really strange but the café was quite crowded.
As for my language clubs, we had a very special session for the Japanese one. With the student teaching the language, we decided to go full hands-on experience and we brought the class into the student kitchen to learn about Japan by its food. We learned how to make Udon noodles from scratch, and also how to well-fry the famous tempura and learn more about the culinary culture in Japan (manners, food, …). It was delicious!
We also helped as usual in the European Cultural Evening being in charge of the lights and sound, and Glënn even had a little role in it. It might be the case that it wasn’t as informative as other CE, but for those who knew a little about Europe, it was hilarious, playing with all the stereotypes.
The day after the European CE, we recorded the last part of the project “My IPC experience” this time asking the students about their farewell impressions, being just 10 days before leaving (similar as me and this post).
The last week was strange, the school entered a nostalgic atmosphere and the “Creative Days” started – similar to the introduction days but now coming to an end. Different activities were available for all from Choir to a Mock TOEFL test.
At the end of the Creative days, there was the Creative night were the artistic subjects during the term showed to the rest of the school their outcomes.
Then, the Farewell dinner arrived with a well deserved 3-course meal (finally we had dessert!) and after it, party until the morning after, where deep cleaning was all the program.
And just like that Spring term ended, and as it is normal, the students left. I can’t express the feelings and atmosphere during the almost 30H of constant goodbye(s). People leaving and crying and everyone getting extremely emotional. Some people might think that it is a sad moment, and in the very precise moment it would have been for many. Now, with some distance, I can tell that it is a wonderful thing to happen. Let me explain it a bit better. People might see the end of the term as the end of the friendships built during the term, but the end of the term is just the beginning to many adventures to come, because after have lived for 6 months with students from more than 28 nationalities, you will eventually, have a lot of trips to make to visit all of them. And what else do you need to travel rather than “a little IPC reunion”?
After the end of Spring term, we had some more relaxed days while waiting for the newcomers of the Danish Language and Culture Summer Course. For them, we opened the café at selected hours and baked nice cakes, so they could play board games or just have a chill space where it is easier to make the homework. We also joined Claus & Angelo for the North Zealand trip and Nikolaj for the excursion to Sweden with the group.
Then, I had my vacations and from tomorrow, I’m back into business, ready to know all the people from the English Language and Culture Summer Course and starting on Sunday, the Alumni Summer Camp will be a reality. Can’t wait to see how everything turns out in these last days.
I can’t tell that the EVS changed my life, but I can say that I still don’t know how deep the impacts of the EVS in my life are, so in a way, the EVS has shaped my life. Maybe thanks to the endless possibilities of learning by doing and trying to find your own way. It is the ultimate experience to get to know you in a really deep level and anyone considering being part of the EVS should be okay to work on that aspect at the same time. If my EVS would start tomorrow again, I would suggest to myself: “Gem, don’t overthink too much, it is okay that you have proposals, but let it be and adapt to the project”. Because in the same way that the EVS shapes you, you (as a volunteer) shape the EVS and that is the beauty of it, and to achieve that you need to take initiative, take the first step and keep going, even if they are baby-steps. And it is basically for it, that I would recommend an EVS project to anyone feeling a bit trapped in her/his comfort zone.
Again, I still can’t tell the very final outcome of the EVS effects on me. But so far, after the EVS I’m moving to Germany for a 5-month internship. Even though I love to travel and live in different realities, I would have never pictured myself in that scenario before the EVS.
As it is kind of a goodbye post, I would also like to thank Bogna and Esben for choosing me to be part of the project, to see my potential and trusting me to run the HRC and especially thank you for rejecting me the first time I applied for it, I wasn’t ready for it, I can see it now. Also, thank you to Adriana for being the best mentor we could have asked for. Special thank you to all of the IPC staff to make IPC became my home for 7 months. And as you know, home is not about the place, it is about the people surrounding you. Special mention to Jannie, for trusting me to deliver a class in “Exploring Denmark” and to Angel for choosing me to be onboard to the YEiV project – a lot of work with a lot of learning along. And last but not least, big thank you to Glënn, my other EVS half – without you the EVS wouldn’t have been the same and let’s be honest, it is quite awesome what we have been able to achieve, I’m quite satisfied- and you know that this fact doesn’t happen often. I know it hasn’t been always easy to work together but the fact of having a common objective – make something meaningful with the HRC kept us together working to achieve that project.
So once more, mange mange tak!
It has been a true pleasure to share these months with you and having the chance to experience IPC’s magic from a totally different perspective than the first time. Still magic tho!
Over and out!
Love and all the best,