Salut ! I’m Juan Pablo Gamboa Rodriguez (25 years old) from Costa Rica that life awarded him with an interesting life-experience-trip called EVS (European Voluntary Service). I just came to Sélestat, France in February 8th with a lot of mixed feelings that I never experience before. All this was summarize in : my first time travelling abroad. Yes, more than 9000 km away from a small and beautiful country in Central America, to reach at the old and fascinating Europe.
Until I arrived to the latest airport in Basel-Mulhouse-Freibourg I realized that I was in Europe. The cold weather and mix of german and french people speaking in their own languages makes me felt almost lost. After that, my flat mates –girls- kissing me on both cheeks like welcome greeting make me felt more lost and then I realized that’s people, principally volunteers call cultural shock.
Living during 3 months –short term EVS- with people from Slovakia, Romania, Indonesia and Nepal make me feel very interested to learn about their cultures and of course share with them my feelings, experiences and point of view about life. An international family which sometimes was speaking English other times French, anyway without boundaries in our minds just with tons of wishes, histories and facts to share.
At the beginning was difficult trying to go outside, to supermarket or a restaurant to buy food because all was in French, but anyway I realized that if you can’t speak fluently that language everywhere there is thoughtful people in order to help you cause at the end, they are also human beings.
I work with Tambour Battant – a non-profit organization that promotes art and culture through international mobility. So I really thank ACI Costa Rica to choose me for this great opportunity and also Mapping Solidarity, TDM Associazone TDM 2000 and Tambour Battant as well to host me during this short but amazing time in this beautiful small town in Alsace.
I just want encourage people to get involved in a different culture, learn a new language and above all live the experience to be empowered as agent of change ; getting away of the comfort zone, being a super EVS.
¡Pura vida !
Bonne journée à tous !