Long term EVS in Kryoneri from Vietnam, 2017

Hi, my name is Nguyen Minh Anh. I am a 19 years old girl from Vietnam. Recently I am in the last period of my volunteering in Kryoneri, Greece from EVS project for 3 months and it is the best time ever.
My work location is in Kryoneri, Korinthias which is a small village situated in the centre of the Corinthias province. The village is really beautiful with always fresh air, nice people and magnificent nature views.
My main jobs were not all the same, I had a lot of chance to try doing different new things. For example: supporting local community in restoration work, painting, development of the rural area- cleaning the footpaths, supporting youth hosteling and more.
Some days I was painting and reconstructing the fences around an amphitheater and Polykentro/ Cultural Centre together with other young people from Poland. Another time, I was learning doing Mosaic picture on the wall in Polykentro with new friends from Germany and I had to say this was very interesting and new to me. Other jobs were developing organic botanic garden, watering the plants in the garden, collecting the nuts, cutting the grass by using machines and so on.
During the time of my volunteering in Greece, I also learnt many new things about Greek culture. It is totally different from my Vietnamese, especially the way Greek people enjoy meals. I was also volunteering helping in the kitchen almost every meals therefore I knew some ways to cook Greek dishes or made Greek salad. Not only Greek cultures but also Greek history did I learn well through volunteer work. There was an action to clean the footpath to the one old cave which was during the second world war a shelter for some Jewish people hiding from Nazis to survive. They came back to this village Kryoneri after many years to see the cave and had a really moving speech to the Greek locals in the amphitheater of the village.
Furthermore, I considered myself to be a very lucky girl since I had the chances to take part also in 2 different Youth Exchanges. The first one was in Kryzowa, Poland with 4 different workshops held in the program like Breakdance, Graffiti, Beatbox and Rap. The best thing was that the participants were from many different European countries such as Romania, Czech Republic, Greece, Poland, England, etc. Therefore, I got to know how to cooperate with others in a global community. The second one was held in Bonn, Germany and was totally different from the previous one. The theme of the program was about Europe through art. Everyone was working together to build a wooden bull and paint European countries flag on it. The bull would be shown up in an exhibition about Europe after that. We made it very beautiful.
Volunteering abroad is always good for the youngsters for more reasons like also opportunities to travel during their free time. For me, 3 months volunteering abroad gave me the opportunities to sight-see so many cities in Europe. I was so happy that through these outdoor activities, I really learnt more about new cultures, making new friends, having unforgettable time.
What’s more?. One of the best things I like most during the time here were the cultural nights when young people presented their countries and their cultures (dancing, singing, cooking food, playing games etc). Through many sorts of activities, I gained more knowledge of European culture in general. I also had one Vietnamese night, presented about Vietnam. I also cooked some Vietnamese street food and wear Ao dai, my traditional Vietnamese costume. It helped me a lot to show Vietnam in a practical way to local community in Greece.
In conclusion, after all I felt thankful for the EVS project in general and my hosting organization Filoxenia, and all people in particular that brought me the chance to be a global citizen. I definitely feel more confident and more independent after going through 3 months without my parents, my friends and making new friends all the time. Sometimes, I felt missing home so much and it has been the first time I had gone away from home for so long but then I knew that it was what I needed to face when I grew up. Now, everything is so worth it.
Nguyễn Minh Anh