Cultural misunderstandings

I started looking for long-term volunteering projects during the summer of 2021, just after
finishing my bachelor’s degree in Audiovisual Communication. The possibility of finding a job was more of a chimera than a real thought (it still is nowadays) and the idea of continuing to live with my parents was truly bleak. So I started searching. I went through the European Solidarity Corps website and I applied to every opportunity that lasted for more than six months in a colder country than Spain.

July ended and August came and nobody answered back. Absolutely no one. Why?
What did my applications lack that I didn’t get a single answer? Then, on a very, very warm
August afternoon I refreshed the ESC website and this nine month project in Norway
appeared before my eyes. They had published it four minutes ago. I didn’t have a clue what
a folkehøgskole was but I applied and I told about it my boyfriend at that time, who, to his eternal misfortune, was in the same situation as me.

What was my surprise when he got an answer and I didn’t? I wanted to kill someone
when he was asked to set up an interview and even more when he was offered to go there,
but if we had almost the same CV and I applied before him! And then he said that the reason why I didn’t get an answer was that, despite having a good profile, I wrote in one of the questions that I was a bit introverted. The world just fell down to my feet. Still, knowing that we knew each other and that we worked pretty well together, he put on a good word for me and they agreed to interview me too.

That was probably one of the most awkward conversations I have ever had, Astrid (my future boss) kept returning to the application I wrote and telling me that maybe it’s not that I’m introverted but a bit Norwegian. I wanted the earth to swallow me. Anyway, she offered me the possibility of going there in two weeks and told me that I could have two days to think about it. I didn’t, I just said yes.

After nine months in Norway, I discovered a lot of things and one of the most important is that you can’t take anything cultural for granted, in there I was definitely not an introvert if I compared myself to the people I met but still I am glad I got the project that way. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Post Author: Gazmir