Villa Elba and the unbelievable frozen Baltic


It has been one month since I arrived in Finland. Who could believe it? For me it is like I have only been here for one week. Everything has been so intense and great during this month, it seems like time didn´t even pass by. The truth is that when you are living your life fully you don´t notice how time can be fast and furious.

During this month I had the opportunity of experiencing things I never imagined before. One of the greatest adventures of the month, after coming to Finland, was my arrival training in Villa Elba, Kokkola. It lasted one week, from the 19th until the 25th of February, and it was amazing! I met people from all over Europe: Spain, France, Italy, Germany, England, Ireland, Denmark, Turkey, Austria, Hungary, Poland, Serbia, Russia, Romania and also Portugal. In one week I felt like we were all like a big family, even though we only knew each other for a few days.


Every one of the volunteers I met had strong reasons and goals for being in Finland doing an EVS project like me. People want to discover more about life and their future; they want to live the present by travelling and exploring the world; they want to become better citizens and human beings with an open-minded; and they want to improve their language skills. I also met one Spanish guy that quitted his job to embrace this EVS adventure, just like me. Apparently, I am not the only one thinking I was the “black sheep” of society just because I have never met people who felt the same way as I do. Discovering that he thought the way I did was grateful and a relief. Somehow I felt like I could fit in with those people spirits and perspectives. I was thrilled for finally being understood among people.

Villa Elba coordinators prepared us a week full of activities. We also had free time but most of the day was fulfilled with group games, discussions or debates. Every game or debate was rewarding for us, Finland volunteers. The kindness of everyone also made me feel at home. I know that finnish people are quiet and shy but they are also very friendly, welcoming and thoughtful.

The landscape and nature of Villa Elba is something that I have seen only in movies. Being able to experience it was one of the most memorable experiences I had since I am in Finland. For the first time in my life I saw a frozen sea and I walked on it. I still can´t believe how it’s possible for the Baltic sea being frozen… Never in my life will I forget the beauty and peace of the sea covered by snow and ice. The forest had also some inches of snow and exploring it was memorable and also a bit painful because of the cold. But guess what! It was the most pleasant pain I felt.


Each of the experiences and people I met during this arrival training and month are very special. I am glad I had the chance of meeting them. Every morning, when I wake up, I feel grateful for having the chance of living this unforgettable journey.

Teksti ja kuvat: Inês

Kategoria: Kansainvälisyys