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м.Вінниця, вул. Дмитра Майбороди, 2а

It’s been 3,5 months since I came to eko-centar Latinovac in Croatia. I want to share my experience and impressions here.

I was volunteering at the eko-centar Latinovac , which is located in a small village in Croatia.

Before the project I was doubted a lot. I was not sure if I should really go to this place, I almost didn’t know what to expect from local people and the village. I was not sure if I would be fine in this place. I was not sure that I could be here for such a long period of time. I had quite a lot of fears in my head because it is my first project and first time going abroad alone. Nevertheless I managed my hesitation because I really wanted to change my life.

One of the main reasons to try the project was practicing English. Volunteering gave me a chance to improve my language skills. Before the project I had a language barrier. I was anxious when I spoke to someone in English. Sometimes it was difficult to talk with foreigners and to understand them. Now I can express my thoughts more fluently, that is very important for me. I feel the difference in my listening skills, too. During the project you face people from different places and with different accents. I remember the first day when I arrived here I met my roommate from Spain. We started to talk to get to know each other more but, honestly, I barely understood even half of her speech. Now I don’t have problems with that. Moreover, I had a chance to learn some words and expressions in other languages like French, Spanish, Turkish, Portugal, German and, of course, Croatian. I even started to understand local people.

Also, this place gave me a lot of new meetings and friends. During volunteering I met 2 groups of short term volunteers. It’s great to have the opportunity to meet new, interesting and different people. I`m sure that with some of them I`ll keep in touch for a long time after the project.

My work here was often connected with kids. We organized and visited some festivals. We prepared activities for children. Usually it was dancing, sport and language games. Besides that, we worked in our garden with our plants, helped with repairing some things on our property. Also, from time to time we helped local people on the farm. Our work was diverse. So, some days we had skill sharing activities, workshops, hiking, and visiting other organizations.

Also, I was interested in ecology before the project. So I had an opportunity to find out more about it. I learned new things about gardening and I discovered that I really like it. Moreover, we had lectures about sustainability and permaculture. Probably, It’s something that I didn’t hear earlier. The fact that these lectures are not boring because the material is presented is very good.

By the way, the nature in Croatia is amazing. I love mountains so much and I`m so happy that I had a chance to live here. During our free days we had the opportunity to travel together around the country. I visited cities like Zagreb, Pula, Zadar, Slavonski Brod and other towns close to our place. I saw the best sunsets in my life in Croatia.

About coordinators. Honestly, they are some of the nicest people I’ve met. I`m so lucky to meet them. They care about this place and people here so much. They are very good examples for me that show how to love the work they do.

Of course, sometimes it was very challenging for me to live here because I had never lived in the village before. I couldn’t even think that It can happen to me. But I changed my opinion about living in the countryside and I see that it can be very cool. I also often worked on leaving my comfort zone. I had quite a lot of situations when I had to talk to strangers for help. That’s why I became more communicative and opened to new meetings. I can definitely say that local people are always ready to help you, especially if they know you`re from Ukraine. They are very nice.

The project opened new interests for me that I`ll continue doing after the project. I feel how much I changed here. I’m more confident in myself.

I love this place so much. This place is so peaceful . Here everything is made for you to feel good. The place where you forget about your problems, where you don’t chase for something. You just enjoy the moment and can allow yourself to go with the flow. You can concentrate on yourself and find what you really like.

One of my favorite things that we used to do is have a bonfire. We spent the whole evening there discussing various topics. I`ll miss that cozy atmosphere and this nice tradition.

Now, I am very motivated to try new projects in other countries. Especially I want to go deeper in the field of sustainable living.

This amazing experience from Latinovac will stay forever in my heart. I`ll miss this place and coordinators so much. I would definitely recommend this project to others. Latinovac is a great opportunity for youth and especially for people who don’t know what to do in life or trying to find themselves.

Iryna Derkach

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Kateryna Marchenko
Kateryna Marchenko
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