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Servizi > Ufficio Europa - Agenzia Eurodesk > Eurodesk Cinisello Balsamo Agency (EN) > Opportunities for youngsters > European Solidarity Corps > Esc in Estonia - Emanuela

The first months of Emanuela in Estonia!


I am here to tell you what happened during these five months in Tallin. Let’s start from the beginning. When I arrived in estonia in September I immediately took part in the on-arrival training in a beautiful and small city called Viljandi.
Here I got to know other volunteers, Estonian history and culture, such as their traditional folk dances, because in case you didn’t know, Tallinn hosts one of the biggest folk music and dance festivals in the world every five years, and yes, all Estonian citizens, who number just over a million, participate. At the training we were also given a small introduction to the language, I just want to say that fourteen grammatical cases is a bit of an exaggeration.

But now let’s talk about my project, the Rõõõmutarekese kindergarten is divided into a kindergarten where there are five groups and the children go from three/four to seven years old, and a nursery with only two groups that go from two to three years old, here in Estonia the maternity leave is much longer than in Italy so the children start kindergarten later. With my tutor I decided to change groups every two months so that I could get to know the children and the teachers, for now I have been in two groups in the nursery, and now I am working in a group in the day nursery. The children are fantastic, I don’t say every day, but almost, I go home satisfied with the work I’ve done and the little joys that these little creatures give me. The main tasks I do are helping the teachers with their daily activities, crafts, football and French language classes, outings to the theatre/museums/ice cream factories, and helping the little ones put on their four layers of clothes to go outside. But the most important activity is teaching the older ones a few phrases and words in Italian and generally introducing them to Italy.

If like me you have in mind Estonians as blond, blue-eyed and characteristically cold and distant, well you are right, but only about their looks. So far all Estonians I have met are great people, open to making new friends and helping you in case of difficulties, of course there are exceptions but for the most part they are always helpful, warm and self-deprecating about the stereotype that they are not good at socialising. In addition, the teachers in my kindergarten love to party and any occasion is good to celebrate. Since I have been here, I have attended six parties with the children, one autumn party and one Christmas party, where they sang ’White Christmas’, and the others with the teachers. The last one was an all-Italian party, since another volunteer from Bari, Nico, works with me. Back from Italy after the Christmas holidays, we brought with us a pandoro, a panettone and other small Italian delicacies, plus we prepared a presentation, a bit late I admit, about us.

With one of my roommates and another friend of ours, we managed to organise a trip to Riga, Latvia, for a few days. Although it is also a Baltic state, the differences with Estonia are noticeable, first and foremost the language: Estonian is much closer grammatically and phonetically to Finnish, while Latvian seems more like a Slavic language. The next trip we want to make is to Helsinki and some of the other major Estonian cities, such as Tartu, which was named European Capital of Culture this year.

Basically, the experience is turning out to be one of the best decisions of my life so far, of course, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, the first month was particularly difficult because I was so homesick, but sharing the flat with other volunteers we supported each other, then we were without light in the kitchen for a month, the cold and snow if you know how to dress and there is no wind are also bearable, but getting used to it is difficult especially to minus 20 degrees.

The last thing I would like to say is that if you think that when you go abroad you will not be those Italians who are always complaining about the food and coffee, well you are lying to yourself, the first question everyone will ask you is "but then pineapple on pizza, yes or no?" and if you have the misfortune to see Germans cooking pasta, I am sorry from the bottom of my heart.

I would have a lot of other things to tell and advice to give but I feel like I’ve already gone on long enough, so I’ll say goodbye and get back to you in a few months!

Data ultima modifica: 26 January 2024
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