“Hejdå” is the Swedish word for goodbye and just as I started 12 month ago with my first youth report during which I introduced you to the first Swedish word “hej”, now I will close this series of reports and posts with this last Swedish word. Today I review this unique experience and evaluate my year as an ESC-volunteer working in Sweden.
First of all, deciding on taking the risk of doing such an experience is the first big step into a whole new life. Such a voluntary service will change you personally and make you grow, no matter what responsibilities, experiences or challenges are there to face during the time. In order of making the best out of it, the right mindset is the key because more than anything else, being open, motivated and optimistic will help to create the best time possible.
For me, I always wanted to live in Sweden for a longer period and my work at Rapatac Sandviken combined many of my hobbies and interests, so I was super excited and motivated to start. Due to that, for me it was not hard to get into a new routine of jobbing full time, living in a shared apartment, and adapting to new cultures. From the beginning, all of us volunteers got along really well, also because we were ready to accept and compromise. But in general did we have the same vision about using our time during and next to work to make a contribution to Rapatac and what they stand for, experience the Swedish lifestyle and also travel to many new places.
And that is what we did! Looking back to all the last months there was never even one boring week. Either it was a big trip, highlights at work, or some micro adventures, we always found a way to balance between a routine and special events to keep it interesting. My only challenge I felt sometimes was the pressure to myself that even with all that, I wanted to do even more. Reflecting on that now, I really want to work on teaching myself to stop sometimes and relax to rest and recharge. Other than that I would say, I had quite the perfect year. Of course there are always ups and downs, challenges, or unplanned happenings like when I broke my knee. But as I said, it is all about mindset and focusing on solutions and a positive way to deal with it.
Overall was my voluntary year probably the most eventful year ever, although I already did many things during my life. All the new experiences and tasks at work that often changed and expanded over the year helped me grow and develop many competences. At the same time did living in a home with 3 completely different nationalities and cultures and working with an even more international team give me a new understanding of accepting and reflecting when it comes to values and habits. The travel and exploring part did not only provide me with the chance of seeing new places and traditions, but showed me how much adventure is possible even during working regular hours and having a base at one place. It motivated and inspired me to continue this even when I move back to Germany.
The biggest learning of the year was definitely to realize what kind of work I enjoy and I am best in. Although I have jobbed in many different fields before and also got to know about my interests and strengths from school and free time activities, during these last 12 months I got to try and find out what really makes me enjoy working with.
Seeing and reviewing all that made me and I`m sure also all of you see how amazing, unique and useful such a year is. I met many other ESC-volunteers during this time and all are different ages and at quite different stages in life. But we all agree, this platform is a great opportunity to grow, learn so many new things in all kind of directions, and make memories you will never forget. I can really recommend trying it yourself if you have the opportunity and feel like you want to experience anything from the written above.
Now, it is time for me to enjoy my last days in Sweden and get ready to move back to Germany and start a new chapter there. I am so thankful for the last year, all the people I got to know through this time, experiences I got to make, and competences I got to develop. With that, I say “hejdå” and wish you all the best for your future that is on you to be created!