My name is Maša Urbančič and I am from Logatec, Slovenia. I spent my EVS mobility in Jiamusi, Heilongjiang, China.

Why did you decide to have this experience?

I decided to have this experience because I wanted to gain new knowledge, meet people from other countries and learn from them and contribute something to the community where I would stay. I wanted to learn new skills and learn about practices in urban gardening and the way of life in other countries. I wanted to experience what we might have in common and where we are different, thus leading also to greater understanding and tolerance in my own life.

Tell me your first impressions once you arrived/landed in the hosting country

Not having had any particular expectations about the hosting country helped me that I found the foreign culture simply fascinating and I did not experience any significant cultural shock throughout my EVS mobility. My first impressions were that people are extremely nice and helpful, but also not used to foreigners, since a lot of people stared at us, which was an unusual experience for me. There were many things that one had to adapt to, ranging from traffic, chopsticks to hierarchy, but I simply took it as part of the culture and not as something distressing. I also was not sure what to really expect because our work at the start was something else than our initial project and I sort of took it that I will see where it will all go.

Which is your best memory of your EVS experience?

There are more, but all in all, the best memories of my EVS experience involve all the activities that were connected with the Chinese culture and their way of living. The hosting organisation made a real effort to introduce us to their country, which involved Chinese weddings, Chinese language, introducing us the ritual of drinking tea, temples, calligraphy and many more.

Tell me 3 words representing your mobility?

Growth; relativity; learning

Finally, do you think it was useful? Why?

I think this experience was extremely useful because it has taught me a lot about life and made me grow as a person, both professionally and personally. It made me reconsider some of my most basic concepts that I held about life and has taught me a lot about family and relationships, community and different way of living and thinking. It provided me with skills not only related to gardening, but also with personal skills, which I know will be extremely useful and important later in (business and personal) life.