Macedonian volunteer: „Going to Estonia – the best and biggest decision of my life“

EstYES 01.12.2018

„I wanted something different, to work with children and to be in a totally new environment. As a result of a brief research, I figured out that there is a possibility to be a volunteer and to put to good use my skills in most of the countries in Europe and the world.“

I’m Feysal Shabani from Gostivar, and I am 27 years old.

After graduating from university where I studied English language and American studies, I started working in a multilingual course as an English teacher. At first, it was interesting and everything was going good, but after some time, I realized that being only a teacher to people almost my age or even older than me was not exactly what I wanted. I wanted something different, to work with children and to be in a totally new environment. As a result of a brief research, I figured out that there is a possibility to be a volunteer and to put to good use my skills in most of the countries in Europe and the world.

My first choices were the countries where I had never been but always have had a desire to visit. Estonia was my first of 3 other choices because of its perfect nature, a never-heard-a-word-before language and the challenging weather conditions.

Luckily, the first organization contacting me was ‘our’ school. After a good interview with my tutor, I decided to go to Estonia. Of course the first thing I did was making a deeper research about the country, places to visit, language, cities etc.

As it was the first time I went there, it was a bit weird because of a completely new city and people, but it didn’t take long for me to adapt to this new culture. Avoiding the things that may make me feel sad, reading and trying to observe the local people as much as possible helped me to overcome the so called hard times.

The thing that surprised me the most about Estonians is that they are so punctual and they have a big respect to their traditions, national holidays and whichever kind of events. Another thing that I had to adapt to was the school’s system as it has a lot of differences from the schools in Macedonia. First of all, the Estonian educational system is much more developed than Macedonia’s one. For instance, the percentage of difference in knowledge of English language of the same generations compared to both countries is huge; children have more advantages in practicing the things that they are learning in theory as the government is investing more in education.

Being able to observe these topics helped me a lot in my personal development as I didn’t have a chance to eye another countries’ educational systems this much and helped me to see the things in a different way.

I’ve been doing presentations, participating to some English lessons, helping the children with their English homework or making daily conversations with them, assisting the teachers regarding their needs and taking care of the children in the schoolyard during breaks between.

As a conclusion, going to beautiful Estonia has been the best and biggest decision of my life so far. Spending a year in Tallinn has changed my mind to settle down in this city even after finishing my project.

Feysal Shabani stayed in Estonia for 10 months within the project “Boost the Mind II” which is funded by Erasmus+ European Voluntary Service program.