Hi, my name is Marketa and I am currently living in Škofja Loka, Slovenia as part of a volunteer project through the ESC. I joined the project because I wanted to improve my English and I felt that I would not be able to do that in the Czech Republic and after finishing my Master’s degree it seemed like the perfect time to travel abroad. To be honest, I had never thought about living abroad before and if I did, I wanted to choose an Erasmus programme for 2-3 months. I just couldn’t find one and when I saw that I could be near the Slovenian mountains that I fell in love with, it was a SURE thing. Next, I was looking for an opportunity to work with children of different ages to test which age range suited me best and which I would choose to work with in the future.

It’s been three months since I arrived in Slovenia, so let’s see what has happened in that time. In the first two weeks we have been introduced to local organisations, student clubs and the local culture. Thanks to this, I met other hiking enthusiasts like me, got to know my mentor and started to get to grips with the fact that I would be spending the following year here.

Everyone in charge here is very friendly and open to just about everything 😃 We’ve also had plenty of opportunities to get to know each other better… after all, I’m roommates with four other people. But to my pleasant surprise it’s very nice to have them here. Although everyone has their quirks, I’m incredibly glad for them. They’re slowly becoming my family, and I’d say that’s common in this type of program whether you want it or not.

The organisations I work in are a constant challenge. The first centre is the MDC BLOK, which is very similar in its functioning to our Children and Youth Homes. The children come here after school and BLOK is a place for them to have fun, play or experience something new in the workshops, which I am also in charge of. The age range here is between 8-15 years old and for the younger children I sometimes struggle with the language barrier as they don’t fully master the English language. The other organisation is left with teenagers who are looking for work, have dropped out of school or want to return to school. Here I find communication in general a challenge… I am used to working with children of kindergarten or younger school age. They constantly surprise me or put me in situations where I have nothing to say 😃 On the other hand, working with them is very diverse, each one is unique and the preparations for the workshop have to be much more thoughtful.

To sum it up, in these three months I managed to meet a lot of new people, go to the seaside, visit the cinema, spend a whole night in the corridor of a motel in Ljubljana just because we got the bus departure time wrong, attend my first karaoke party which I remembered the whole next day, cook lasagna for the first time and try paragliding which became my absolute highlight!

See you later, adijo!