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

February,

February although the shortest month of the year, had some really cool events that changed my perspective on the remaining time of my EVS. Being anxious and feeling homesick were constant in January, so I tried my best to overcome these feelings.

I realized that I started to connect more to my own culture while trying to eliminate homesickness. I was listening to Hungarian folk music, musicals and popular songs, started to read in Hungarian language again, watching Hungarian comedians and started to learn more about politics in my country. I was talking to my friends on the phone for hours some days and these small changes really made me feel better. I think in some ways I was feeling in between cultures, because I started to learn more about Irish history and culture which increased the sense of belonging here, but also highlighted my need for my home culture. The end of February didn’t turn out that great, because I injured my lower back  somehow last week. Because of this I can’t really do anything or go anywhere, which isn’t much fun. It is quickly getting better, but I wish it would be even faster so I could leave the house. Lisa is travelling at the moment, and I miss her a lot. Matteo is here fortunately, and
he is really helpful with my back-situation, so I’m really grateful.

In my free time I spent more time with my friends here too; the volunteers from Carrickfergus visited me and we had a lovely, sunny, but very windy day in Bangor. I watched rugby with Irish people in a pub, listened to live traditional music, went to 2 talks to Belfast during the Science Festival. We went to our previous mentor’s, Cathy’s leaving do to a restaurant. It was hard to say goodbye to her. We will have a new mentor, Irene, who will
help us with work-related things. She took us out for dinner in Belfast, we had a really good time. We also tried to change our schedule, so all 3 of us would have similar hours per week. This proved to be a little difficult sometimes, but I enjoy the new challenges coming with it. I started to work at a new programme, called Messy Art for mums and their children. I just went for the first one, where the babies and toddlers were playing with paint and they looked hilarious. It was really good fun and very messy indeed. Matteo and I are continuing
with our weekly cultural awareness sessions with the kids in the Youth Club. Last week, I was leading the session with an other volunteer and 4 children who all really enjoyed it. I hope I can go for the next one tomorrow evening (if my back allows me to leave the house). We had our Mid-term training in Cultra this month. It was a really good experience and I think really useful. It was nice to ask questions and discuss problems with our trainers. I found it really helpful and inspiring. I felt more motivated after the training. I also think it
made me focus more on the future. We also went to the Mental Health training to Bryson with Positive Parties which was great fun, I really enjoyed it. I joined an online course at the University of Sheffield about the
importance of Playwork, which will hopefully be a huge help with my work at the After School Club. I wanted to attend the Interview Skills workshop too, but due to this unfortunate back problem, I couldn’t.
I’m really looking forward to March, I have a feeling it will be a really good one.

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