Ida: My first 4 months as a volunteer in Kiikhobu Kindergarten

Ida: My first 4 months as a volunteer in Kiikhobu Kindergarten

I am Ida, a 19-year-old from the north of Germany. I just graduated school this
summer, but it was always my plan to go abroad and experience a different kind
of live before continuing my studies at university or starting a job. This is my
first time living abroad and by myself so I was definitely a little bit anxious before coming to a place where I knew no one and had to suddenly do everything by myself in a country where I didn´t even know the language.

But I chose to come to Estonia and Kiikhobu kindergarten because of these things
too. I wanted to experience living in a different country with different culture,
language and people to grow as a person and learn new things about myself
and also gain a different perspective on life. I also chose a kindergarten because
even though I always liked being around children and playing with them, my
interests go in a quite different direction (science and tech) so it´s something
that shows me a different kind of work that I was planning to pursue.

Life in Tallinn

Because I came to Tallinn in the beginning of September I was lucky to
experience some of the last “warmer” days here in Estonia before it got dark
and cold with lots of snow. Now that it´s winter the days are not that long,
which sometimes makes it a bit more difficult not missing home and my family.
But luckily I found good friends here that are also volunteers and because I live
in an apartment with other volunteers too, I never get too lonely. We explore
Tallinn and Estonia together which actually makes it a lot more memorable and
meaningful to me. Christmas time here made me like Tallinn a lot, the Christmas
market and decorations all around town made it very magical combined with
the snow and even the dark. Estonians might not be the most extroverted
people but they are very helpful from my experiences in stores or in the bus.
When I went home for Christmas I actually missed my life in Tallinn quite a bit.
And now that I´m going to start a language course in the middle of January I´m
excited to be able to speak it a little bit at work or in my free time too, because
up until now, even though I can already understand some, speaking Estonian is
definitely not easy.

Life in Kiikhobu

When I first arrived here, the thing I was most worried about, was if the
children at the kindergarten would like me and if I was able to be of help to the
teachers. In the beginning I was a little shy and unsure if I did things correctly.
But luckily everyone was very nice and helped me learn how to do things and
even with the children I feel very comfortable and accepted. It is also very
interesting how different kindergartens here in Estonia are from the ones I
know at home in Germany. Here they start with education like writing, reading
and simple math in kindergarten, which we only learn at school in Germany. It
makes my work at the kindergarten also more interesting because I can help
them during the educational work too. Because I can now use and understand
some simple sentences and words in Estonian, playing and getting to know the
children has become a lot easier in the beginning too. In the kindergarten, there
are so many fun events like excursions, a Halloween party, lots activities for
Christmas like a concert and gingerbread baking, that make my experience a lot
more fun and eventful as well. I think I learned quite a lot about different
traditions during the Christmas times too which was very interesting. I feel very
excited for the next 6 months here and almost sad because time is going by so
fast. But I´m going to enjoy my time here and in the kindergarten a much as
possible and take these memories with me.

Ida Gerdom, January 2024