Hej, my name is Anna-Lena and I’m from Austria. Currently I’m taking part in the European Solidarity Corps volunteering program for one year at the 4H-farm here in Växjö. I want to tell you a bit about this new chapter in my life, my work on the farm and what I’ve experienced so far.
It’s the end of November, I’ve been in Sweden for almost 3 months now and I have to say it’s so great to be here! The first few weeks might have been a bit confusing as everything was new – suddenly hearing another language all over the place, so many new people to meet, leaving your comfort zone all the time and new places to discover and explore. But everything’s starting to fall into place, I’m slowly getting to know the city and how life works here.
Before I left my home country I thought “Oh my god, I’m going to Sweden all alone”, but so far, I haven’t really felt lonely. With everyday Växjö and our villa are feeling more like home to me, and all of us volunteers are growing together like a little family. It’s great that we do so many things together like visiting other cities, different free time activities or just exploring Växjö and its surroundings.
I also have to say that even though I miss the Austrian mountains, I enjoy the “city life” here. I know, Växjö isn’t such a big city, but it’s still a huge difference compared to the 700-inhabitants-village I’m coming from. There’s a lot more going on here and definitely more things to do.
Probably the only thing that I don’t like about Växjö is the fact that it’s raining so much – and I have to work outside a lot on the farm. But I’m keeping up my positive attitude and trying to live by the motto “there is no bad weather, just bad clothes” as many Scandinavian people like to say. To be honest I’m just a bit scared of winter – the cold and especially the darkness. But I came here prepared and brought vitamin D pills as well as warm fluffy socks with me – so it’s going to be alright.
In general, I’m really happy with working on the farm. As I said, sometimes it can be a bit exhausting when it’s raining all day and you’re soaking wet… but it’s worth it. I like working with animals, the people there are fun and genuinely nice and there are so many possibilities to learn new things. I’m speaking of practical and social skills, taking responsibility, etc.
A great part of my work is taken up by caring for all the animals – we have sheep, horses, pigs, goats, chicken and rabbits. Further we also have to fix or replace things around the farm quite often (mostly fences, because there’s so many of them). On Friday afternoons some of the schoolkids of the middle school nearby are usually visiting the farm and we let them help us with simple tasks or just play games with them. What I really like is the fact that every day is different because daily tasks are constantly changing, which means that work can never get boring.
To sum up, I’m glad that I chose to participate in the ESC program and on the 4H-farm particularly. It’s such a great possibility to make new experiences, to learn things for life and to find out more about yourself.