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Volunteer Maria’s impression of Estonia

Maria is a 22-year-old from Ukraine, who works as a volunteer at Viljandi youth centre. After she finished university, Maria became a volunteer to do something completely different for her, to be in a different situation and to give herself time to think about future plans. She likes about volunteering that she does an interesting work with a helpful team and she can carry out her own ideas at the youth centre. Maria has been in Estonia for 7 months. EstYES did an interview with her about her impressions of Estonia.


What Estonian food would you like to introduce to your family?

Vana Tallinn ice cream! It is so good. Also, I brought some Kama for my mum when I went home for Christmas. I think she liked it.


If you could have a dinner with one Estonian celebrity, who would it be?

I don’t know that many Estonian celebrities, but who impressed me the most are Winny Puhh. Once my co-worker told me about their Eurovision performance, I watched it, and they seem like those weird-fun guys. I liked how they in some way mocked Eurovision. I think it would be fun to hang out with them. That is not one person, but more people means more fun!


What’s your favourite word in Estonian and why?

Once on Instagram, I saw the word mõnus, which means cozy and comfy. Actually, I guess it is hard to translate this word into English. It is like the Estonian version of hygge. I really like this word.


What do you like about Estonian nature?

First of all, I like that nature is very accessible here. I live in Viljandi, it takes me around 3 minutes to go down to the lake and approximately the same amount of time to go to the forest. It is so easy to get to nature here! I also like that Estonians enjoy being in nature, and have all those trails in the bogs. I think here people have a really good connection, so to say, with nature. Also, Estonian forests are so green with all the different moss!


Which place in Estonia would you like to visit and why?

I already had a chance to visit some Estonian towns, I liked Pärnu most of all, with its seaside and cute colorful houses. I would like to visit more natural sites, like bogs and national parks. I still haven’t been to Soomaa national park. I hope that I will still be able to do this in the summer. And, of course, I want to visit the islands!


What surprised you about Estonia?

I would say people. Before coming here, I heard a lot about how reserved and introverted Estonians are. But most of the people I have met here are actually very open and talkative. So, let’s say, I got rid of one stereotype!


The voluntary work service is funded by Archimedes Foundation Youth Agency in collaboration with European Solidarity Corps.

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