Estonia Adventures part 2


It has been 3 months since the first day I came to Finland,  Study Visit to Estonia was my first exploration outside Finland. For that reason, I looked forward to it. I hoped that I would be able to explore  new beautiful city, eat some delicious food and meet some interesting people. In the end, this trip gave me precious memories beyond my expectations.
On the 1st day, we traveled from Turku to Tallinn, everyone was little bit tired after a long day but instantly when arriving to Tallinn, we all were awaken by the beauty of this city and of course by the thought of dinner. It was also  StepEurope Projectcoordinator Ronja’s birthday so we had fun celebrating her special day, and learning some Estonian words “ Ma ei ole loll turist!” which means I’m not a stupid tourist, very important.

On the 2nd day of the trip, we were so honored to have a very interesting conversation with the founder of the EstYes organization – one of the biggest youth voluntary organizations in Estonian. It’s was such a interesting talk to know how he can build the relationship and attract volunteers from all around the world coming to Tallinn and Estonia to do some work. I realised that in Vietnam, where I am from, we still don thave many active youth organizations which creates  possibilities for young people around the word to find international opportunities, learn new thing, and discover themselves before starting their studies and careers.
Lisa, a StepEurope staff member shares some thoughts about the meeting as well.

"They welcomed us in their simple and cozy office and shared experience over the years they have been established. We were there to study and we did certainly learn a lot in few days:
It was very important to have set so many contacts with other countries and take care of those partnerships. In Estonia, they have had so many projects and we got new and inspiring ideas for our local activities and tips and networks for our international actions.
The best advice came from Aleksandr, the founder and the chairman of EstYes: “We never say no!” Yes, the secret is probably giving always a try to any idea, project, proposal coming from outside, even if its something completely new. Keeping to be curious and open mind to all tings new, not just being happy with the short-term results, being brave and giving a chance to anybody interested, are most likely the perfect guidelines for a open minded and international youth organization!  "

In the afternoon, we had the great opportunity to visit local food bank, Toidu Pank . We were able to actually take part in their weekly activities – distribute foods to them who need it. It was so interesting that in Estonian, the Food Bank connects with some of the supermarkets, stores in Tallinn to ask for the soon expiration date food. Through this event, I have concluded for myself one lesson : 
  I  shouldn’t judge people through their appearance. You can see some people who may look very neat  but you don’t know how difficult their situation is, One thing I was impressed by the  Toidu Pank organization is that it also connects to the Social Workers to quide people to the foodbank.  Can you believe it, the food banks can help up to 9,000 people week?

During our time we only learned thru non-formal methods Venla, a Study Visit participant shares some thoughts about the experience with Poetry Walk:

 "My favourite part of the trip was poetry walk, led by our volunteer Ahmad. Tallin is a place where most Finns have visited multiple times, and I am no exception for that. This walk gave me a change to see Tallinn from a new perspective, which made it quite interesting. We started the poetry walk by exploring the old walls of the old city of Tallin. We were asked to think what wall might present to us, and turn that into a poem. After this we continued to walk to the heart of Tallin, Town Hall square, where the Christmas athmosphere was already present. Ahmad asked us to sense the athmosphere and to be more present with our senses – he even asked us to smell the huge Christmas tree in front of us. The idea was to continue our poem, if there was something we wanted to express. Our last stop was at the freedom square, where our new Estonian friends gave us an insight to a history of this place. Again, we were asked to use this information as our inspiration for writing poetry. My experience with poetry walk was really positive, and I will definitely take part again. Poetry walk can work as a way to get in touch with your own creativity, which can be really fulfilling experience!"
During the last 2 days, we had a chance to meet many young people from different countries at a workshop together with EstYes and another local interesting organization Continuous Action. Young people from  Europe like France, Germany, Italia,... All together come to Estonian to not only do voluntary works but also to discover themselves – what am I really interested in? What is my passion, my strength? EVS is the great opportunity for young people in Europe to do what they like before officially study and follow their passion. I just wish that this program not only occur with Europe but also in the whole world, so that we, the young can have our right orientation to follow our dream.

  Thank you Step Europe for giving me this great opportunity to learn new things and meet these interesting and passionate young people.

Chau Vuong