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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