Hi! I’m Kaja from Poland and I’ve just finished my 10-month ESC experience in Ventspils Library. I chose Latvia because I liked the project and I wanted to get to know a new culture, new places, and also a new language. I had previously lived and studied in Germany for a year, and I wanted to experience something different.
I worked in the University Library most of the time. My main tasks were leading Polish and German courses, organising events, and posting in social media, but in fact I could do much more because my tutors were supportive and encouraged me to try new things. In the end, I did things I had never thought I’d be capable of doing: QR code games, creative workshops for children, a cooking club, social media graphics, a photo exhibition, a big dream catcher, and many more! I studied Latvian, which at first didn’t seem to be understandable at all, and exactly when the project was coming to the end, I realised I could understand quite a lot and say simple sentences on my own. In my last days in Ventspils I made a short presentation for the librarians about my work and free time in Latvia, and yes – I did it in Latvian!
But working life was only a part of my ESC experience and I was active (or even hyperactive) in my free time as well. I travelled a lot in Latvia, went to Lithuania, Estonia, and Finland.
I took lots of pictures. I had been interested in (amateur) photography for some time already and had been posting a lot on my Instagram profile, but it crossed my mind to organise a photo exhibition as my final project and show my photos to a broader public. I like challenging myself and after having trained for a couple of months I took part in a 10 km run in Riga and scored my personal best.
Another challenge was to maintain my vegan lifestyle. I had decided to go vegan less than a month before I came to Latvia and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to stick to it. There are not so many vegan products in Latvian supermarkets, but I managed!
There were good and bad days but all in all I can say that it was an important experience. I tried many things I probably wouldn’t have done anywhere else, I became more confident and independent. If you want to make unforgettable memories abroad, give ESC a try!