My name is Lieke and I am one of the volunteers in Trbovlje, but I mainly work in the VDC in Zagorje.
Let me first explain what a personal project is. During your EVS you should get the opportunity to build something outside your regular work. This can be an event, performance or workshop, but also a book, a website or music. The great thing about your personal project is that you can design it however you like.
When I first started to look for ideas there were two things I know now that I wish I had known then. The first thing is that you have so much more options than you think. Workshops or events were the only thing I thought were options for my project, but as mentioned before this is certainly not true. Do not think that you cannot reach people, or to help them by creating something physical or digital. The second thing is something a trainer said on mid-term training, he advised us to search for something we thought was missing in our new environment. He said that some of the best ideas came from people from different backgrounds figuring out what was missing in their new environment.
For my project I wanted to do something with music, partly because I have my violin which I had brought all the way from the Netherlands, but also something for other people. So I thought I would host a musical afternoon in a home for elderly, where EVS from all over Slovenia could come to perform. So I organized my very first event ever and it turned out… quite okay! I was able to find only one other EVS who was able to come and play, my coordinator contacted the elderly home and we played for about thirty minutes. Some of the retirees were quite confused because we didn’t play Slovenian folk music, however some really seemed to enjoy it.
So now you may ask yourselves, why go through all that trouble to organize an at best average event? For me there are two important parts about a personal project: the part you do for others and the part you do for yourself. The part for others depends on what you make or do. My aim for the event was quite simple: to give the elderly a pleasant afternoon and bring a short change from their normal lives. The part for yourself can be less obvious. However, a personal project is an option to learn and achieve many things. I got to learn somethings about how to plan an event, making music with other, better my preforming skills and learn how to work with other people.
Two other things that I really like about a personal project is that you get the possibility to work with different people and acquire different skills than you could in your regular EVS work.
In February I will continue with another music evening in an elderly home, in Litija this time where the other EVS lives. I hope to find more EVS that want to help and to make the event more enjoyable for the audience. However, I would also like to start another personal project since the other EVS is organizing most of it. Now I can start again with the brainstorming process, which reminded me how hard I thought it was to find an idea the first time.
So allow me to end with two advices. The first one to all the EVS, please try to have a personal project, now matter how small or big it can only benefit you. The second one to the locals who will read this, we as EVS have the time and resources to create things in your home town, so don’t waste the opportunity if you have great ideas!