Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Me and Croatia surprising each other

Today is 9th of November. Outside is +19 degrees. Sun is shining. It is amazing for a guy from Estonia. Croatia si still surprasing me.

I am also trying to surprise Croatia by learning its lnaguage. I bought a book of Croatian and now learn it in the evenings when I have time. Local people appreciate it and express sincere interest in a guy from some country of ex-USSR (there are just slight differences for the most of Croats between Estonia, Lithuania and Ukraine). It is great basis for communication and establishing realationship with native people.

This is something that I have learnt about being long time abroad - no matter how good you and local people are in English, it is necessary to posses some knowledge of local language. Especially if you are staying in this country for more than just one month.

One more thing about being abroad that I have learnt. Although I lived 5 months in Germany, still I am re-discovering what many other AIESEC interns, AIESECars and other people have said to me: while being abroad, apart of your family, friends and general environment (lingual, social, cultural) that you are used to, you are able to reflect more on yourself and thus grow as a person.

Third thing that I knew in theory and what I experienced once while living in Germany for 5 months is that the hardest time abroad is around 4 months after leaving your country. You are so much fascinated about new realities anymore, you are less surprised by the new things than in the beginning and, what more important, you are getting tired of every-day-meet-new-people experience. I experienced it around one-two weeks ago. It was almost exactly 4 months after I left Estonia.

What is helping? Calls to your friends or family back home? It is definetely pleasant, but usually it just makes situation worse, because after talking to them you miss them even more. The real solution is lot of activity and less being alone.

For me such solution has been AIESEC. I has been responsible for the recruitment of new members here and worked on it quite a lot, while also preparing facilitation in Local Training Seminar. I just got to know that I have been selected as a facilitator for Croatian National Motivational Seminar which will take place in 1,5 weeks. So, no time for being bored :)
Besides AIESEC, I have been practising in academic area. As the local university does not provide students with lot of internationalism, i got idea to get in touch with some professors and ask them, if I can give some short lecture about Estonian macroeconomics (macroeconomics is generally subject that I really like and have studied along with my main studies). In this way I could also promote local AIESEC to both professors and students that they can see what kind of cool international people is AIESEC bringing here :)
I gave one lecture last week and have one more this week. It is really interesting, as Estonian and Croatian economies have lot of things in common, but at the same time we kind of are a little bit ahead. Therefore, local students seemed to be interested and we had intense discussions around those topics.
During those discussions, during AIESEC seminars and elsewhere, while speaking to local young people I have noticed that they are generally not too optimistic about their perspectives in Croatia and the future of their country (despite the fact that I have not seen more patriotic nation than Croatians!). Maybe I do not remember it so well anymore, but it seems to me that Estonian young people are more optimistic about it.
One more note - local parties are great. One of the things that Croats are really good in, are the parties. They now how to have fun. And this is pleasant discovery for me :)
Generally, I feel grateful to my parents, AIESEC and my own will that I came here and getting all this incredible experience. Croatia was my dream destination before. And I do not regret a single moment here.
La vita e bella!
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