Five months already!

Nuorten Kotkien aktiivi Jassu on vapaaehtoisvaihdossa Brysselissä kansainvälisen kotkaliikkeen IFM-SEI:n toimistolla. Jassu kertoo vapaaehtoisvuodestaan noin kerran kuussa ilmestyvissä blogiteksteissään Nuorten Kotkien sivuilla.

I have been here already for five months! Crazy how quick time goes when you are having fun.

My first IFM-SEI project here was Proud and Visible: in the fight for women rights, organised together with Party of European Socialists (PES) in Istanbul. It was nice and educational experience for me. Everything didn’t go as planned, so I really learned how to improvise and work under pressure. Luckily I had awesome team member with me to figure things out and in the end I think we succeeded to have good training.

I have also joined in many small events and trainings organised by other organisations, where I have been representative of IFM-SEI. One of these events was Vision Inclusion kick off meeting in Berlin. It was a two day conference in the topic of inclusion, starting event of two year project to have convergent inclusion strategy for youth organisations worldwide.

Part of EVS is to join in trainings organised by National Agencies. There are two trainings to attend, on arrival and midterm training. My on arrival training was three weeks after my arrival here and midterm training end of January. What I gained from these trainings was to get to know new awesome people and learn that feedback can really matter. I wrote feedback about the first training, with my coordinator, to the National Agency and it really made a difference. Thanks to my feedback they made changes to provide even better trainings, I think that is highlight of my EVS so far.

Right now I’m working on IFM-SEI’s next project I Act: exploring masculinities. That is my biggest project during my EVS. I work with awesome international team to plan and deliver good project for participants all over Europe.


End of the year 2018 I worked a lot to finish everything in the office to have a clean start in 2019. I was really tired when my holiday started and happy to travel to Finland for the festive season.


I really enjoyed my time in Finland, seeing my family and friends, but on the last days of my holiday I started to miss my own time. I noticed that when I use word home, I’m talking about Brussels and when it came time to travel back here, it didn’t feel like traveling, it felt like way home.

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Few months in Brussels

Nuorten Kotkien aktiivi Jassu on vapaaehtoisvaihdossa Brysselissä kansainvälisen kotkaliikkeen IFM-SEI:n toimistolla. Jassu kertoo vapaaehtoisvuodestaan noin kerran kuussa ilmestyvissä blogiteksteissään Nuorten Kotkien sivuilla.


A lot of things have happened during my stay. At first I was been feeling more tired than before because everything was new, recycling my garbage at home (I still don’t understand how you can just leave trash bag on the street) to writing project grant applications for Council of Europe.

First three weeks I felt like I was just on a holiday and floated above the clouds enjoying everything. After those three weeks the reality hit me. It is hard to adapt to everything new!

Everywhere you go you need to talk in different language whether it’s France, Flemish or English. I can’t understand anything people say to me in the grocery store or streets. I have been taking Dutch classes and it helps me to understand some things but I still need to work on it a lot.

When I moved to Belgium I lived in a Institution of Cultural Affairs (ICA) for a month. In there I had my own room but everything else I shared with 40 people. At first it was really fun, getting to know new people, doing things together on our freetime and always having someone to talk to. After two weeks it was getting a bit much so I needed to start looking for a new place to live, ICA was supposed to be temporary place anyway.

I started looking from all the Facebook groups and websites I could find. There were many houses and rooms available but they were booked super fast or had some problems. In Belgium you need to register in a house if you live here more than 3 months but many landlords didn’t want to do that…avoiding taxes I quess. I was struggling with finding a place to live and trying to avoid getting conned because that happens a lot, and it almost happened to me. Then I got really lucky, Ingrid from IFM-SEI office had a friend who had room available in her house –  two blocks from the office! I moved in one week later. Now I live with one other girl, a bit more privacy than before.

People are asking me do I have any friends here…friends no, but acquidances yes.

After being here for three weeks I went to on arrival training which is a week long training for all EVS’s in Belgium. Training was okay, but the most important thing from that was new people I met.

Working in the secretariat has been fun. I have had opportunity to go to many trainings and events. For example I was in this Global Girls’ summit 2018 organised by Plan International, a start for their new campaign Girls get equal. In there I got the change to hear amazing, inspirational young people and meet Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of Belgians. I have a lot of work which is a good thing, I don’t get bored in the office. Sometimes it’s really hard and workload is big but I have a lot of support from other people in the office. I think we are a good team and I enjoy going to the office every morning. 

This was just a small overview of my time here so far. Until next time!






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How I got here

Nuorten Kotkien aktiivi Jassu on vapaaehtoisvaihdossa Brysselissä kansainvälisen kotkaliikkeen IFM-SEI:n toimistolla. Jassu kertoo vapaaehtoisvuodestaan noin kerran kuussa ilmestyvissä blogiteksteissään Nuorten Kotkien sivuilla.


My name is Jasmin but I’m better known as Jassu. This is a blog about my EVS (European Voluntary Service) year in IFM-SEI (International Falcon Movement – Socialist Educational International ) secretariat. I will be writing here approximately once a month and tell you all the things about my year here. Hopefully this can be inspiration to someone.

I’m 29 years old Nuoret Kotkat (NKK) volunteer from Järvenpää. I have been volunteer in NKK  for nine years. I started as a leader in camps and ended up being the chairman of my district for three years. So many things and mandates fit in those years, I’m not gonna tell you all but I can tell you it has been interesting.

My first international activity was Co-Camp in 2011. I went there with one really experienced leader and group of 20 youngsters. I really didn’t have idea how to be a leader in this situation but luckily my leader partner knew everything and guided me through the camp. From that experience I got hooked up and built my own way of dealing with international work.

First time I heard about EVS was from Pekka (one of my friends in NKK) who spend a year in Catalonia as an EVS. I started thinking maybe one day I could do something like that. That idea was buried under all the other things I was doing at the time but kept popping up from time to time. Then in 2015 Nuoret Kotkat had an EVS volunteer, Jess from Catalonia and I got the honor to be her mentor for the year. Spark of the idea to go abroad was lit again.

In December 2016  I saw an open call for EVS in IFM-SEI secretariat and applied, but wasn’t accepted. In December 2017 I saw that open call again and started thinking should I apply.  After hard consideration I knew it would be now or never (because you can’t be over 30 years old). I applied and got accepted!

It took me seven years to build my knowledge working in an international organisation to get to the point where I’m now. (I’m that kind of person who takes time to do decisions and built knowledge. Believe me you can do it faster if you want, seven years is a long time.)

A week ago I started my EVS year in IFM-SEI secretariat in Brussels, Belgium.  About that I will tell you later.


More info about EVS here

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