NGO Skill LAB Project, Zagreb, February 2016-January 2017
I had already been doing my master’s degree in Croatia for two years when I decided to head for a year-long EVS “NGO skill LAB”. I wanted to stay in Croatia after graduating and start a career in a non-profit organisation. And since I was volunteering in O.A.ZA. before, the EVS there was the only logical solution! During my service, I’ll learn how to manage projects, deal with language-connected stuff in the organisation (teaching Croatian to the foreign volunteers, translating and proofreading), and gain other useful experience in NGO work.
Soon, I’ll graduate Croatology at the University of Zagreb’s Centre for Croatian Studies. In Poland, I graduated Bachelor’s Degree in Slavistics. Apart from working in an NGO, I want to professionalize in translation (Polish-Croatian-English). I like to make my own cosmetics, bake bread, make cheese etc. In the future, I would love to live in the countryside, have my own garden with organic products and a goat 🙂
Master in Environmental Management and with a previous degree in Environmental Science, Sara is very connected to the environmental field and joined O.A.ZA. in the hopes of putting into practice some of this academic knowledge. More than that, by joining this specific EVS project she aims at learning more about herself, to grow both personally and professionally by sharing these 10 months with an intercultural and multi-valued team, to (re)discover the beauty of the Croatian culture, and to be challenged by new and exciting adventures.
Youth Corner for Change Agents Project, Zagreb, September 2015-June 2016
I came to Croatia after my graduation from High School to take one year off before enrolling at university to get to know Europe from a different perspective, dedicate my time and energy to projects that are for a greater good, learn a new language, experience a different culture and simply learn about life. Through my European Voluntary Service at O.A.ZA. I have the amazing opportunity to realize all of that. My projects here include teaching German to young Croatians and working with small pupils in their school garden. In my free time you can find me involved in helping refugees, enjoying Zagreb’s vibrant culture or running and hiking in the green spaces in and around the city.
Dreamer. Passionate about arts and books.
My duties in O.A.ZA. revolve around marketing and graphic design, and I can often be caught doodling on post-its during meetings. I strongly believe that people who embrace what they love and do it selflessly and wholeheartedly are the ones who change the world. I came to Croatia to challenge my boundaries and ended up rediscovering myself.
Nenad is Master of Mechanical Enginnering, department Energy and process technique.
By vocation is youth worker/youth leader. Actively engaged in NGO sector from 2004, starting as a volunteer and progressing to volunteer coordinator, project leader, and so on. Involved in writing and implementing various projects mostly with green topics, sustainability, renewable sources or energy, recycling and similar. Organized and delivered different workshops, seminars, lectures and many other activities. Working as a trainer, moderator, and project coordinator.
Green Fingers Project, Zagreb, May-June 2016
EVS in O.A.ZA meant for me a time when I can explore myself in another country with new people around as well as it was new activities and new knowledge that I had the chance to gain as working in gardens and learning about what is all the time around you is a great chance to be with nature and yourself. Working with kids is a great experience as their curiosity has no limits and energy is neverending, and they are just constantly happy for all the activities, talks, games that we did with them. Most important, even at such a young age and with modern technologies all around, by the activities that O.A.ZA provides in gardens and involves all school in the garden process, those kids are willing to do and know, which gives an amazing feeling knowing that we have a new generation interested in sustainable development and sharing this interest and caring with their friends and family.
Greening Urban Environment Project, Zagreb, May-July 2015
I’m Nijolė from Lithuania, I graduated law in my country and work as a bailiff’s assistant. I had two months of vacations that I decided to use meaningfully, and so I came to Zagreb to volunteer. In this project, we had many different tasks, starting with preparing intercultural nights, promoting a youth club, and finishing with planting urban gardens with children in primary schools, organizing workshops, making various decorations and crafting kites with kids within the „Kids and wind“ project on the wonderful Krk island.
We were given Croatian language courses, introduction to Spanish, many self-knowledge seminars, yoga course, gained some vegetarian-cooking knowledge (our kitchen chef was just awesome!). I also went dancing in my free time (Zagreb is just a perfect place for dancers!), during vacations I visited some neighboring countries together with other volunteers – we had a completely crazy and unforgettable Balkan trip… But the best thing was the people that I met there – not only Croatians, who are really very warm and friendly, but also other participants whose culture was very interesting to perceive. I’m sure now that volunteering gives you more than you give yourself.
Zdravo! My name is Ayra Santos, I am Brazilian, but live in Portugal. I am 24 years old, I study psychology and I volunteer! First I think it’s important to say what volunteering is for me… In a nutshell, it is the art of giving and receiving, believing that together we can make a difference.
During two months in European Voluntary Service, I worked with the O.A.ZA. NGO, participating in various activities, such as planting urban gardens with primary school children; organizing an “Urban Garden Party” and a fundraising event; workshops with children, where I had the opportunity to teach Portuguese basic garden word for kids.
I am very happy and grateful for this opportunity.
Living an easy life, EVS came up as an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone. It was hard to choose a project out of hundreds of them, but Croatia seemed to be a beautiful country and OAZA’s project was one of the most challenging – one of those projects where you can really change something.
Well, after the moment I landed in Zagreb, my life would never be the same. I learnt so much, I made a little difference in the community, but the community changed me – a will grew up in me – the will to make the world a better place, and make myself a better human being.
I will always keep Zagreb and all the people I met in my heart, and I’ll always remember them with a smile on my face. They changed my life.
My name is Sara, I’m 25 years old and I am from Portugal. I did one short term EVS in O.A.ZA. during 2 months, and it truly was one of the most amazing experiences that I ever had!
Whether we were working just between volunteers, with children in the urban gardens, with youth in the streets of Zagreb, promoting O.A.ZA. activities, participating or giving lectures, helping with the organization of a youth exchange… I was constantly learning. Learning about subjects that I never really reflected upon previously, learning about new cultures and languages, learning about others and even learning about myself.
Only after returning home I realized how much this entire experience deeply changed me. Every time that I think about this two months, I cannot help the smile that appears in my face. I have never been in a working environment so healthy before. I have never met so many beautiful and kind people. And I have never loved the work that I was doing before this experience.
I don’t see this short journey as a finished experience. No, for me – and I think that also for the other nine volunteers – this was the beginning of something great. Thanks to the amazing work done by O.A.ZA. in teaching us by giving great examples of how happy and harmonized our lives can be if we are kind, respectful, and truthful to each other.
Greening Urban Environment was a totally new and fun experience for me. During the two months that I spent in Croatia, I met wonderful people, discovered a new culture, and made some good friends. I was a part of the promo team, which was in charge of promoting the events we organized for the youth club. This gave me the opportunity to interact with new people, step out of my comfort zone, and get creative.
By the way, summers in Croatia are amazing!
My name is Nikola Nikolic, I am from Serbia, and I’m a student of ecology and biology. Also, I’m a volunteer!
I’m a member of the biological society “Dr. Sava Petrovic” from Nis, Serbia.
I want to express my great pleasure for being a member of the EVS team in Zagreb during the two beautiful months. My responsibility was to organize movie nights in the youth club “TOC”, and other jobs in the youth club, to collect all vegetarian recipes of the meals that we ate and make a handbook. Also, my duty was to edit the FB page of O.A.ZA and TOC. I was also a part of the team who promoted OAZA’s big project “Kids and wind” on the Krk island…
Hello, my name is Guida Gonçalves, I’m 21 years old and I’m from Viseu, Portugal.
I decided to do EVS mainly because I love to travel and I wanted to know a new country with different people; secondly, I saw EVS as a program where I could make difference in the world or at least in a specific place. I wanted to leave my comfort zone, to develop new skills and consequently to increase my personal, educational, and professional knowledge.
During the time that I was in Zagreb working with O.A.ZA.’s members and the other volunteers, I helped building and planting urban gardens in primary schools, I did workshops with children about the environment, I supported O.A.ZA.’s activities in Youth Club TÓC, and I helped to promote the activities, the values, and the projects of this organization, including to go to on Krk Island and present one project about wind energy to local people.
With this project I gained valuable knowledge through other people about different areas of interest and I had an international experience focus not only in voluntary humanitarian side but also in other important values that matter to teach mainly at a young age that they are the future of our nation. Effectively I had a feeling of fulfillment, I improved my language skills, my personality, of course it wasn’t always easy, I was far from my family, my friends, I felt alone but most of the time I was happy, I was with people that I could share my stories, my knowledge, my feelings; I made good friends who made this experience an amazing one.
These two months were the beginning of a new phase of my life, because at this point I know I want to be a person who can make a difference, I don’t say in the world, but at least, a difference in my friends and family and city’s life.
It wasn’t an end, it was a beginning.
My name is Nenad and I’m in O.A.ZA. for the second time and to be honest I have great expectations. My first time was last year in December 2014 as participant on the training ATOL – Advanced Training of Leadership. It was one of the best trainings and a great first experience with the organization. I was so inspired by the organization that I decided to do short term EVS (European Voluntary Service) in Croatia.
So I came here to work on several things. One was urban gardening with other volunteers, where we were going to different schools and promoting gardening and providing different workshops for kids.
The second part of work is the youth club TOC. I’m very interested in youth clubs and providing creative workshops to youngsters. I really enjoyed helping to organize workshops and even delivering some of them.
And the third part and one that I really, really enjoyed was helping with the organization of the youth exchange near Karlovac, in a beautiful surrounding and with completely inspiring activities with the title “(Dis)Connected in nature.
I am Ericka and I am from Bolivia. I was living in Madrid before starting my short-term EVS in O.A.ZA. The project’s name was “Greening Urban Environment” and I was principally working with kids in their school garden, together with other 3 volunteers. I was also teaching some basic Spanish courses and helping with the promotion of different activities that we had in the organization. It was an awesome experience, I really recommend it!
My name is Ivana and I am from Serbia. I’m an ecologist by profession. This was the reason why I chose a short-term EVS project in O.A.ZA., called “Greening Urban Environment”. I liked this project because it involved working with kids and youth and showing them that there are so many different ways in which they can improve themselves and the environment. I was a part of the gardening team. Our task was to maintain gardens as well as to talk with kids and teach them why urban gardening is so important for them and for all of us. Also, I had the opportunity to visit the kids from primary schools on the island of Krk and assist in the presentation of the project ‘’Kids and wind’’. Now and then, everybody needs some active relaxation. That was my part. I was leading dance workshops in youth club “TOC”. For two months, I have worked and lived with amazing people. Some of them are now among my best friends. The beautiful energy that reigned among people and so many memories, thanks to the wonderful team of people from O.A.ZA. I will never forget this experience! I recommend it to everybody, from my heart.