Below you find Simone Ottlik's text about her stay in Finland and a video from her photo exhibition:
My name is Simone Ottlik and I am 20 years old. I live with my family in Lohfelden, which is a big village next to Kassel. Kassel is in the middle of Germany. Winter 2008 I got an idea to go abroad. I looked into different possibilities to do it. I decided that the best way to do it was to do European Volunteer Service (EVS). The big question was, where? It was certain that it had to be in Europe but I travelled so much in the past that I could not decide where I would like to go. Finally, I sent papers to six northern countries: Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. I waited for four long months and then in October 2009 I got the answer: "We welcome you to come to Kouvola - Finland as a European volunteer". I was very happy.
January 3rd I arrived. I just knew that I was going to live in a host family in Myllykoski and work at different places. But that is the way it started. I had a nice timetable:
Monday, 14:00 - 20:00 Nuokkari Myllykoski
Tuesday, 14:00 - 20:00 Nuokkari Inkeroinen
Wednesday, 08:00 - 14:00 School Myllykoski
Thursday, 14:00 - 20:00 Nuokkari Inkeroinen
Friday, 08:00 - 15:00 Spiraali Myllykoski
It seems like a strict working week, but it wasn't. Sometimes, and this happened quite often, I took part in meetings for multiculturality or planning days. In the Youth Clubs (Nuokkari) I worked with children between the age of seven and sixteen. It was not so easy as I thought. Finnish people need a lot of time to get open-minded. But after three months they weren't so afraid any more. In the school I worked like a teacher assistant. German and English lessons were one big part of my work. I spent a lot of time in cooking and handicraft lessons because I like to learn new things for myself, like - knitting, crocheting, sewing. Spiraali, a training center for young unemployed people, I have done handicraft also. My biggest work there - my big amazing red stool! I have never thought in my life that I am going to do something like that.
At the weekends I travelled as much as I could. As you can see on the map I have seen a lot of different parts in Finland and, of course, I spent time in Stockholm, Tallinn and Saint Petersburg.