Yana Tarykova and Stoyan Gechkov are volunteers for 1 month in Latvia with sending organization YDCMA and welcoming organization Ventspils Jauniešu dome under the project “Youth City of the Future”.
The project aims to organize a youth festival in Ventspils, Latvia.
My first EVS experience in the “Youth city of the future”
In the last 3 years i have taken a semester abroad, taken part in many international projects, mostly under the Erasmus + program, youth exchanges and training camps that last anywhere betweena couple of days to two weeks. All of them gave me knowledge and new skills, helped me make contacts with people from all over the world, with whom I talk to this day. After all these experiences I felt like I was rade to take part in a bigger, longer project and here I am – the first approved out of 10 volunteers under the EVS project “Youth city of the future”.
The EVS project lasts 1 month during the summer, and is located in Ventspils, Latvia. Its main goal is to organize the first international youth festival in the city. Here with my fellow volunteers from Bulgaria, Portugal, Spain, Italy and Croatia we live and work in the local youth center .
Latvia is a small country, and Ventspils is not a big city either. However, this is compensated by the calm atmosphere, beautiful nature, the huge beach on the sea and the many green spaces – parks with sports facilities, recreation areas and forests. Here they even have a local currency called “venti” – with them one can get discounts in many tourist places and shops. This summer is atypical for here, because the weather is sunny and warm – something that happens very rarely in a Baltic country like Latvia and even less often in one of its northern cities like Ventspils. That is why I am very lucky – this is my favorite time, especially when the sun sets with beautiful sunsets only at midnight and only to rise again at 5 o’clock in the morning.
I also can’t help but mention that I’m lucky in terms of being here at the only time of the year when big events happen every weekend. In the beginning there was the festival of the sea, then there was the city holiday of the nearby town of Kuldiga, and this weekend the “Ghetto Games” were held with participants from all over the world. The latter was really very impressive, I felt like part of those American movies where you can see some of the best dancers in the world, hundreds of basketball players, football competitions, skateboard tricks in the skate park, jumping and cycling performances, competitions and demonstrations of motor skills, extreme sports and much more. I am also excited about what is coming next weekend, namely: the holiday of Ventspils and our festival.
I can say that my experience as part of EVS so far is different from other projects, but I like it. Most often I work where the office of our host organization is located, or in the park, which is located in our backyard and where we prepare our festival. My tasks include building activities in our house, promoting our festival with brochures, creating new games for young people, etc. However, I do not think of these things as work because they are interesting to me and the atmosphere is extremely friendly and informal. During the first days, for example, we had activities to unite our team, and in one of them I had the opportunity to ride an off-road bike with big tires on the beach and even in the Baltic Sea – just like that, in the sea, inside the water! I like teamwork and the new friendships I’ve made with the new people here. We are like a family with the other participants – we have not only established friendly and cooperative relations, but we literally all live together in the youth center. I am also happy because I see that what we are doing here really gives results and makes sense – the organizers rely on us, they trust us, they entrusted us with the great responsibility to organize the first international youth festival in the city, using our ideas, and we feel confident and ready to make it a big, successful and unforgettable event that will become a long-standing tradition for Ventspils and bring many new opportunities for young people here.
I am always grateful for every experience I am a part of, thanks to the Erasmus + program, the same goes for the EVS project “Youth City of the Future”. That is why I recommend such experiences to everyone. As for me – after this EVS project I will certainly be better prepared to be even more independent, motivated and successful in my life. For me, people and new friendships and partnerships are always the most exciting and important result of all the activities in which I participate, so I will try to keep in touch with other volunteers in the future. Even now I plan to take part in more projects and educational activities in one of their cities – because the EVS project brought us together, and its end cannot separate us!