Skip to content Skip to footer

Welcome dear reader. I always dreamed of going a year abroad after finishing school and now I can’t believe I’m actually here writing to you. Who would have thought that I would end up in Slovenia? That’s right, I wouldn’t have thought it myself. Crazy how such an inconspicuous country hides such beauty and diversity. But before I keep you in suspense any longer – A big welcome to you, cool that you found your way to this blog! I am more than happy to be able to share this experience with you and give you a small insight in what it’s like to work in Epicenter as much as living at the beautiful coast of Slovenia. My name is Anne, I come from Belgium and my mother language is German. Yeah, you heard right, German. For everyone who didn’t know, Belgium has three official languages, french, dutch and German (even though it’s a very small part). I am 18 years old, just finished high school and I will stay here in Slovenia for 11 months, until end of August 2024. For me it was the best to take a gap year, live in another country, experience new cultures, learn and speak other languages and especially find out about myself and my interests etc. before starting my studies.

So let’s start right from the begin…

30th of September 2023 – I moved into my flight with a lot of mixed feelings. From pain and sadness because of the goodbye to my lovely home people to a lot of excitement and anticipation to what lies ahead, there was a bunch of emotions. For example also crazy, that the girl that I just met in the airport and now sits somewhere behind me in the plane is going to be my flatmate, co-worker and ‘experience sharer’ for the next 6 months! Well, that’s for sure not all. It’s the first time, of traveling alone, being out of Belgium for longer than 2 weeks, living without parents, managing and organizing the household myself, speaking a foreign language, which I have never spoken in real life before, and at the same time learning the national language to get along better and to understand people here.

Concluding, it was a first time for almost everything. So I guess you will understand when I say it was a lot for me to menage at the same time. But to be honest, it feels great. Being independent and deciding about my own adventure.

The next days after my arrival I met the third volunteer Ibon, who is already there since march, as well as Varja (my coordinator) and the other workers of the youth center, who were all very welcoming and kind. I spent the first few days mainly settling in and exploring the surroundings.

At one point I took this probably a little to serious, as I wanted to join an outside climbing course and decided to take the bike, early in the morning, to go to that place somewhere above Koper. But as everyone knows, you can’t trust google maps, and that’s how I learned my lesson by ending 2 hours later in the middle of a remote forest with no continuing way and a wound on my finger from holding the phone with the map on. After a while, I finally realized that it’s impossible, apart from the fact that I was too late now anyway, and met with my roommate in Koper to visit the city and the environment. I liked especially Izola, which is next to Koper, because of it’s colored houses and small streets.

We were in general very lucky with the weather, what made it possible to go to the sea and swim before it gets colder.

To live so close to the sea and not far from the shops etc. is something that I appreciate a lot. Speaking from shops – here apple sauce doesn’t exist, which is surprising and sad the same time because I used to eat it with a lot of things in Belgium. But complaining doesn’t help, so I bought apples and made my own. And here you see another more funny thing about the shops, or maybe less about the shops but about the German translation of food…

They want to tell me that it’s not peppers but drugs. That was the funniest one, but I promise there were a lot of translations I had to laugh about.

During the first weeks I slowly got to know the kids and the work in Epi. One Saturday it was time to take the bikes and go for a little trip to the neighboring country to take a sip of the Croatian air. We also went for a drink one day with two volunteers from Koper, that showed us around and brought us to a kind of exhibition, which was, let’s say, different. Another weekend we went to the capital city, Ljubljana, to meet with two other volunteers, what I enjoyed a lot, first because we didn’t meet that much people yet by then and second, because I kind of missed being among people. Well, we got along very well, so the next time they came to visit us and we celebrated one of the girl’s birthday.

And even later we went for a few days together to see lake Bled and Bohinj.

There we did some hikes, and I realized that I had overestimated my fitness a bit. The last day we went up a mountain, where we got the best weather, means rain, only heavy, prolonged, incessant rain and just maybe the view was not only clear.

Well, even if we left wherever we went a small puddle of water, I had a lot of fun. Back in Lucija then, I was very happy to have the warm weather of the coast back, as I was soaked to the bone. And yeah, I can tell you, my shower was never longer before.

That’s it with the first part of my… ‘fall-winter-Blog’ I’m gonna call it. Second and third part are on their way, so see you soon 🙂