Marina's story

„Where the hell is Latvija, what are you talking about, How…?When…?Why…?What…?”

So, that’s my mum who wasn’t very happy when I said I will be volunteering in another country for 2 months.  But let’s start from the beginning. I’m Marina, from Croatia and I accidentally applied for EVS, so my experience is little different than other EVS volunteers.

Usually person decides to go to France for example and he is looking for NGO-s and/or project that he is interested in, then there is procedure of writing a project and waiting for EU to approve it etc. I just wanted a break from my life in Zagreb and I found perfect opportunity. I was just scrolling on the internet and doing nothing in my life when I saw article called “Who wants’ to spend summer on Baltic Sea for free?” The only conditions where that you need to be between ages 18 and 30, and speak English fluently. I didn’t even think about it, I just started to type them how awesome I am. The next day the girl who organized the whole thing called me on Skype and after 10 minute talk she just said: “okay, we are buying you a plane ticket next week”. So now comes the talk with my mum from the beginning of story.


I come from a small town where people are conservative, not very educated, so it was really hard to explain my parents and relatives why would I go to another country just to volunteer there. Usually when people go abroad they come back with new Mercedes, and I will go back with 3 new shirts that I bought in second hand shop. Also, my parents still think I am in Litva*, after I told them 17 times that I am in Latvia. So, in that one month before I left, I explained 529 times what I will do there (and they still didn’t get it), and I was listening how someone will take my organs, or sent me to slavery, oh and also that it will be war in Latvia, or Litva or whatever. So, with all my fears, I had to deal with other people fears and stupidity. Luckily, I had 2 two jobs and a lot of responsibilities, so I didn’t have time to really think and imagine how it will be and what is waiting for me in Latvia. The furthest I got in my mind is airport, it was my first flight, so I was kind of afraid, but not the flying itself, I was afraid I will get lost on the airport or something like that, my mind is weird, I know. So, yeah of course I was afraid, I didn’t know many information about the work I will do, organization, country, people that will surround me.

But 1 month I am here, and I am still alive with all my organs, I made new friends, met a lot of people from different countries and cultures who just don’t care how, when and where, they just want to travel. Every day I am reminding myself to enjoy every moment because this right here, right now is an unforgettable experience and even if everything becomes usual after some time, It’s not. This experience really opened my eyes, eyes to world that I didn’t even know that exists. When you live in small country, small town, surrounded by same people all the time you don’t even think there are hundreds of people just traveling around the world with no more money in their pocket than you have in yours right now. You just need a courage to go into the world.

Marina Rogulja

Liepaja, Latvia

*Litva- Lithuania


Project “No bikes, no party” is realized within the "Erasmus+: Youth in Action” programme and is financed by European Union.