Här skriver Océane om
sin tid som volontär i Sverige.
Volontär betyder att man
gör något frivilligt,
i det här fallet
att resa till ett annat land
för att hjälpa till
och lära sig nya saker.
Blogg ESC Volontär
Här skriver Océane Dommanget på engelska om sin tid som volontär i Sverige.
We're on the last day of my volunteering and a year has gone by. Summing up a year's experience like this is not so easy. I have so many things to say, so many memories and skills developed.
In the space of a year, my life has totally changed, from architecture student in Paris to volunteer at a youth center in Sweden. The first change I can see is undoubtedly my level of English, which has really improved. That was one of my worries, but I've finally got over it. Then there's Swedish, which I've also been able to learn and which I now understand. I've also been involved in few French classes to help them discover the culture. I've also been very involved with the children at the center, offering them creative and sporting activities every week. I got to know my colleagues and the Swedish work and education system. Sweden itself is very different from France and this year I was able to compare cultural differences and ways of life.
I loved volunteering at Lomma, surrounded by friendly, caring colleagues and very open-minded, smiling young people. My days with them always flew by as there was always an activity planned, a themed evening or a moment of cooking. We went to Göteborg for a weekend at the amusement park, or for a day in the forest. We took part in the Lomma culture festival and spent the whole summer in a container by the beach, which is what I call good working conditions ahah.
What's more, I formed links with the children and most of them improved their English, which is really good, and then the teenagers discovered ESC, because it's super important to know that you can have an opportunity like this to go and live abroad. Also, throughout the year I met other volunteers with whom I shared some very good memories and anecdotes, and I hope to keep in touch.
I've also travelled a lot, taking advantage of my vacations to discover the region and even the country. I've been to Stockholm several times, and in winter I've taken the train to Kiruna (in the Arctic Circle) where I've experienced extreme cold, dog sledding, the Northern Lights and so on. I've explored the region by car on several occasions, taking in hikes in the national parks, strolls along the beaches and discovering small villages. But that's not all, I've also packed my backpack with a tent and set off on an adventure along the country's west coast to discover fishing villages, not forgetting my sailing trip on the Göta canal and the country's largest lakes. Finally, I recently visited the islands of Öland and Gotland, where the sun was out and the fun was in. All in all, I've made the most of this year to visit this great and beautiful country, without missing out on a trip to Denmark, Norway and Finland. It was a year full of unforgettable visits and discoveries. Of course, I've documented this whole year on my instagram account oceane.volunteer.se where you can find all my activities and travels.
Finally, I'm staying in Sweden, so it's just a "See you soon" with Lomma kommun and the fritidsklubb as I'll continue to work with them when they need me, but more importantly, I'm now the social mentor for the next volunteer. So I'll continue to have a link with the organization and the European Solidarity Corps, which I'm extremely pleased about. In conclusion, I've loved this year, this volunteering and this experience in general, and I encourage anyone between 18 and 30 to do the same.
Océane Dommanget, 17th september 2023
Welcome once again to my diary of volunteering in Sweden. It's been nine months since I started my volunteering experience, so this is the third time I've written about it.
These last three months, i have seen my experience evolve, and a lot has happened that
has changed my perception compared to the last time.
At the last "episode", I was rather sluggish, it wasn't perfect and I was asking myself a lot of
questions; but now that the sun has come back along with spring, everything is better. I'm
doing extremely well and I'm delighted to be here. So there really are ups and downs, but the downs never really last too long as far as I can see. As I said, the weather's been really beautiful lately, so we're outside a lot doing activities for the kids, which makes everyone very happy. In recent weeks, I've organized an "English week" for the children, so all the games were in English, and they particularly enjoyed the treasure hunt, which was a great moment with them. I've managed to create a real link with them now, and they talk to me a lot more in English since then, and that's probably also because I've been at Centralen every day for a while, so they've had time to get to know me better. Finally, in general, I'd say that the country and the people are really different from this winter, and it's just a joy to spend spring here.
Moreover, I've been able to participate at many events recently, and it was really great to
discover a bit more of Swedish culture, for example Valborgsmässoafton in Lund, which was fun to see. I also took part in the KEKS seminar in Göteborg for two days, and it was very interesting, there were several conference topics with different speakers, dealing for
example with mental health among young people, youth work in Eastern Europe, but I also did a study visit at Frilagret, a café like no other which offers many opportunities for young people to perform in the fields of art, music etc. It was a great visit and I was very impressed by the way it was run. It was a great visit and I was nicely surprised by the place. Finally, I took part in the Lomma Culture Festival and it was really cool. We organized the Dancestop and Limbo, and I also managed a face-painting stand for the kids and talked about ESC at the same time. Finally, I was able to attend the Swedish national day in Malmö where there were several celebrations, concerts, performances etc. It was really cool to see how things are done here, I was very happy to be there.
Similarly, we spent a weekend in Göteborg with a group of youth from Lomma, where we spent a day at the Liseberg amusement park, then spent the night in a hostel where we watched Eurovision and finally spent the next day walking around the city, taking time to explore and do some shopping. It was an excellent weekend together, and we made the most of every moment. Everyone left with good memories.
I also took part in the interview of the future volunteer who will be there after me and it was nice to feel concerned about her. I also proposed myself to be her future social mentor, as I've decided to stay living in Malmö at the end of my volunteering. So I'll still be part of the volunteer system, but in a different way, and I'm really looking forward to it.
To finish and talk a bit more about my personal life, I've been climbing since the ice rink closed at the end of winter, which allows me to discover a new sport, keep fit and take my mind off things. I think that's really important when you live abroad. Finally, I also took some time out for myself and went on vacation to Norway, where I arrived in Oslo on National Day. It's a very big event there, so it was a pretty hectic day. Afterwards, I had time to visit quite a few museums and walk in and out of the city. I enjoyed taking time out of the country and getting a change of atmosphere. It's also what makes me come back here even happier.
That's it for the last three months, which have been great overall.
See you in three months for the last one!
See you soon,
Welcome once again to my diary of volunteering in Sweden.
It has been six months since I started my volunteering experience and this is the second time I am writing about it.
Now, I am really used to my routine and environment. I know the city and the region well and I even had the opportunity to visit several parts of the country. Which is really cool as a whole because one of my goals was to discover as much as possible of this beautiful country's landscapes, as well as its culture. I've really settled in here, I know how the general system works and I now act like a native and not a tourist. I'm pretty proud of that. It's official because I managed to get my personal number as a citizen and my Swedish national identity card. Which is a big step in terms of my integration into the country. It really makes my life here easier on a daily basis.
In the last few months I've made quite a lot of progress in Swedish. I'm starting to understand when someone speaks next to me, but it's still difficult to express myself. However, I've made great progress since I started the course in January and I'm happy with the way it's going.
As far as the work is concerned, I have largely taken my bearings, whether it be the
environment or my colleagues. I have integrated well and it is a pleasure to go to work. I
have done a lot of activities with the children and it is always nice to spend time with them. As usual, I organize manual activities. For example, recently we have been doing a lot of painting and making salt dough together, which they have really enjoyed. I have also suggested sports games that the French used to play as children, which they did not know in Sweden. We also play knowledge games on general culture such as geography and flags. Last week, we organised a special girls' night for the teenagers, as they are not very present at the daily evenings at the center. So we planned an evening for her which was a success. Finally, i have a better rapport with the children and young people, we have more affinity, which is more pleasant.
I also took advantage of the winter to take holidays. I had the opportunity to visit the island of Åland and Helsinki, in Finland. It was really beautiful and I enjoyed it a lot. I was also able to compare the two countries, which are completely different, and it was very interesting. I also headed to Swedish Lapland, to the northernmost city in the country : Kiruna. This destination is really the Swedish destination by exception. Between snow, northern lights, dog sledding, the ice hotel and a visit to a Samí camp with reindeers; I was completely immersed in wonderful experience.
Finally, I went to the mid-term (meeting for the CES) and I was able to redefine my objectives and know where I am in my volunteering experience. Then, I met the volunteers from the On-arrival course again, which was very nice. I really enjoyed this update and share a moment with these people, it makes me super happy.
I'm done for the last few months, where I celebrate my six months. As always, there are ups and downs but I am making progress and I am looking forward to using the time I have left to discover as much as I have seen so far.
See you in three months,
Welcome to the diary of my volunteering in Lomma.
It's been three months since I started my volunteering, so this is the first time I'm writing about my feelings and the beginning of my experience.
I am now starting to get used to life in Sweden and to take my marks in the city, whether it is in Lomma or Malmö, I am starting to have my points of reference, which allows me to be at ease and to install a certain routine. The same goes for the weather, which isn't necessarily a big change compared to the north-east of France (where I'm from), although it's been windier and we've had snow here! I was so happy to be able to walk and play in the snow, like a child. Indeed, it's been a long time since we had real snow in France, so it felt good to be able to enjoy it.
As far as work is concerned, I got used to the place and my colleagues quite quickly. To put the environment in perspective, I work at Fritidsgård Centralen on Mondays and Wednesdays and then on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday evenings, Karstorpskolan on Tuesdays and Fladängsskolan on Thursdays. On Fridays I can choose the location according to the need, so I remain flexible. So I have three places of work, with different colleagues and children, which I think is great because it breaks my daily routine and allows me to meet more people, and also to be in a different atmosphere because the children don't ask for the same activities in different schools.
Speaking of activities, I was able to propose and lead several. In particular creative activities, so far the children and I have made bracelets, pins, clay objects, cards for Father's Day and Christmas, finger puppets and painted cups, boxes and canvases. We also made Halloween decorations, dug pumpkins and had a party for the event. At the moment I am preparing the next activities for Christmas before I go on holiday and return to France for the festive season. I was about to forget the sports activities, like gymnastics, basketball, ping-pong and so on. I also took a climbing course so that I can help the young people climb on the climbing wall at the center. I am also learning to skateboard thanks to the ramps we have at the center. In addition, sometimes we organize tournaments with mini-games for the younger children, but we also know how to relax by watching films
together and even the World Cup matches with the older children. Moreover, with them, evenings can be as calm as they are lively. I organized an evening on the theme of France by cooking crepes, playing kahoot and listening to French music. We often have parties like that, cooking pizzas or roasting marshmallows and hot dogs on the fire. Besides all this, I also intervene in French classes for high school students, in order to introduce
myself but especially to speak about the European Solidarity Corps, with the aim of making them aware of the different ways to go abroad.
Moreover, I had the opportunity to meet a lot of other volunteers coming from all over Europe and even further. Indeed, one month after my arrival I participated in the On arrival course in Stockholm, which consists of a weeklong meeting with other volunteers who are located in the country to talk about the volunteering mission, determine objectives and basics to know about life in Sweden. We also had the opportunity to get to know each other and play lots of games together. In short, it is a time of sharing and getting to know new people, and why not create new friendships. Moreover, one of the organizations that welcomes volunteers, called Awesome people, had a meeting with other volunteers that I didn't know, which allowed me to expand my network even
more. This time it was in Örebro and we visited the city after having a presentation of their organization and playing escape games to learn more about democracy, a fun way to learn more about this topic. We all stayed together in a big house in Kopparberg, a bit like a flat share, it was great to live all together for a few days. We had a great time together, especially at Christmas time. In short, I enjoyed all these moments with them and we
plan to meet again soon, so I hope that there will be more meetings like this, and that some of them will come to Lomma.
That's it for the last three months, which have been busy to say the least. I'm really happy with the start of this experience. It's gone by so quickly, which I guess is a good sign, and I can't wait to find out what's in store for the next few months. I will write again in three months, so you can follow my adventure.
Sidansvarig: Pia Alexius