EVS Diary – Supporting Communities, Encouraging Potential, Northern Ireland 2017


This month some exciting changes happened in our EVS life, at work and at home as well.
We have a new colleague who first joined us in the After School Club, and now for the last few occasions she started at the Creche as well. She is very friendly and easy to talk to. With the change in the leadership, mostly in Creche I can feel a big difference from the previous leader’s methods and it is difficult to get used to it.

In After School Club most times when I work I am with an other volunteer and/or a student, which is really helpful for the staff as well, for we have more leaders present. I feel very comfortable at the sessions, I feel respected by the kids, which is mainly because of the leader, Fran, who always tells the children that we, as volunteers are leaders too and they should listen to us just the same. There are still a few older children who don’t listen to me, when Fran is not around us. I really enjoy being outside with them, in parks or squares in Bangor. As the weather gets colder, it’s getting harder to enjoy the time outside, since I am usually quite cold. I am really looking forward to receiving our branded hoodies for work, which will hopefully solve this problem.

At the Duke of Edinburgh sessions, there were a few new kids who joined the team. They just finished the swimming and we will continue the physical training with zumba. I have already tried it before and it was a lot of fun, I am excited to start it. I am looking forward to the preparation period for the expedition with them, to do more team building and practical training.
At Homework club, I really like that I can be in a familiar setting. We would have something similar at home in schools for kids, whose parents are working late, and they can stay at school doing their homework, colouring, playing with each other. I also like checking the children’s homework or helping them when they need it. When I was little I really wanted to be a teacher, now it has changed but I still enjoy these ’teachery’ moments with them.

My favorite programme is the Youth Club. Some of the leaders also mentioned to me that it is visible how I became more comfortable and confident at the club. I like helping out at cookery and more educational sessions, or just hanging out with the kids. More and more of them know my name, hearing them saying my name makes me feel that I belong here. I feel that my work is valued and appreciated.

At most of the programmes I am working in, I will need to prepare crafts, sessions and ideas soon for the Christmas period. I really feel that I will need admin hours in my schedule, so I would have time to prepare these. Some of the leaders actually suggested to us to ask for admin hours in our schedule, because we have prepared things in our free time or when the session’s leader let us do the preparations for the next few sessions.

This month I didn’t receive trainings. I helped out once in the Ballyholme After School Club, where I saw a different approach and environment for doing After School Club. It was a good learning possibility to see different leaders in the same roles with different methods.
A lot had changed in my free time as well, since as soon as my best friend left, after our road trip, Matteo, our new flatmate and fellow volunteer arrived. We try to organise free time activities for all three of us, when it is possible. We went for a long walk to Groomsport, we were invited to dinner by Joanne, an other member of the staff at the YMCA, and it was amazing.

We have really different schedules, mainly with Lisa, so it is harder to meet and spend quality time together, but we still try our best to hang out. We go to church together and we joined them for the Christmas Carol Service as well. Radka, the previous volunteer will come back in December for a few days and she will also sing with us in the choir.

I just asked Monika in YMCA if she would help me find a way to continue my Polish language studies, and I am also very interested in Hebrew culture, about which I can talk a lot to Matteo, who knows a lot about it from university.

I still participate at the Alpha course, we just had a Saturday lunch and a longer session which was really good, and I found out that one of the ladies is from the same church I go to, which helped us to get to know each other better. I also joined a small group for young people at the church, so I hope this will help me find new local friends in the future.
I enjoy being alone as well and rediscovering my hobbies, like reading and singing. I hope I can also go to more events for yoga, coffee and vegan food. I am very much interested in these and would like to improve my knowledge and skills for them.

Our weekly money is enough for every essential thing I would need, I also tried to save a little every week. It is getting harder as Christmas is coming closer, but I think I’ll manage. A financial issue came up this month, because I had to start paying for my social insurance at home, so I would have a valid European Health Insurance Card. With the help from our coordinator, an other volunteer and Monika from the YMCA, I will try to arrange a full coverage insurance with Cigna and also find out how I can report to Hungary that I am temporarily living abroad. Hopefully, in a few weeks they will help me solve this problem, and therefore help my financial situation.

The heating system is still weird sometimes, it needs quite a lot of resetting to make it work. Our landlord had a look at it, and it should work now, but still we have issues with it (the boiler forgets to turn the heating on sometimes).This month I couldn’t do as much promoting for EVS as I wanted to. I still do the usual things, like explaining EVS to people, and share my experience.

Our colleagues started to organise the christmas lunch, with which we had a little complication, because the emails that are set up for us, only Matteo had access to, so Lisa and I didn’t know much about it. Thanks to the staff at YMCA they told us every important information as soon as they’ve found out that we don’t know about the lunch, so now it is solved. Sometimes it happens that one of us gets some information from staff about something happening at work, or our project but the others don’t get that information. Hopefully, having a session about the administrative parts of our jobs will help with this issue.


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