For this month’s interview we had an opportunity to talk with Antonio Jovanov, student from Veles, passionate about science, volunteering and traveling.
Tell us something about yourself: who is Antonio and what is he doing?
Well my name is Antonio I am a 20 year old student from Veles Macedonia trying to balance difficult student life at the faculty of natural sciences and social life at the same time. Outside of my school work I try to volunteer at my local red cross and try to take part in NGOs that I find interesting and have similar values with. I am a huge movie lover so you can always find me watching a movie in the cinema or some interesting series at home. I also love traveling but in 2020 that is more of a dream for now.
On how many youth projects have you participated so far, and what have you learned from the expereinece?
I have been a part of only 3 projects I was hoping it would have been more by now so I plan on taking part in many more next year hopefully. All of the youth projects I have been part of had dramatically different subjects as their main goal and I learned a lot in each and every one of them. Most notable was an exchange I took part in Croatia where we discussed the social systems employed in Europe and what are their values and differences. This really helped me better understand the way of life of many europeans. Regardless of the specific subject of the youth projects each and every one of them helped me become a better person because of them i am less shy, more talkative, more confident and just an all around better communicator especially better at communicating in english. All three of them have been totally different experiences and are all very dear to me and I would encourage everyone to take part in at least one youth project.
Explain your Erasmus+ experience in 3 words.
Really F***ing Amazing
What was the most interesting moment you had while on an Erasmus+ project?
One of my best memories has to be when we went rowing on a boat in the middle of a lake in Lithuania. The project was on the banks of a small lake and we had a boat so a group of us went rowing. I had no idea how to row I just found out as I was going we had so much fun we went all the way across the lake during the sunset and took a million pictures almost tipped over like 10 times but we had a blast and i have so many memories of that day.
What is your favorite traditional food you have tried while participating on a projecta and where?
My favorite traditional food has got to be portuegese food. It is my absolute favorite so far. I have never personally been to Portugal so that was my first time trying their food and i loved it especially they have this special cheese that is creamy and sweet and they eat it over a piece of bread with jam it seems weird for someone like me but i loved that and also they have the best alcohol that is very tasty but also surprisingly strong.
How the knowledge/skills/attitudes aquired from participation in youth projects have been beneficial for you?
I have learned a tremendous amount from the youth projects. First of all they made me more talkative and outgoing and made me realize I should always try to meet as many new people as possible. You end up making friendships with the most unexpected of people. That has really passed over into my everyday life. It also made me realise I will never be friends with everyone so I should just be my most authentic self and just focus on the people that will like me for my quirky personality. These two small attitude changes have really helped make my life better. In terms of skills I can’t overstate the huge impact this has had on my english speaking skills nothing helps you get better at a certain language than using it for a week.
What’s your passion in life?
While I am still very young and have a lot of time to figure out the passion in my life I love what I am studying to become. Even though I decided medicine is not the right choice for me, working in a medical lab still allows me to be an important part in the medical world and be able to help people in my day to day life. I also want to take part in more NGOs and try to fight to better our society. I believe we still have a long way to go before we can say we are on par with many other countries in terms of equality, representation of different ethnicities, human rights etc.
How is this Covid 19 time affected your life, and what have you done to grow during this year?
Before COVID i had a really busy life always doing something or going somewhere so it was quite a change for me to go to staying home most of the time but regardless I tried my best to learn and grow in this time. I studied french for 8 years but since going to college I kind of stopped practicing french so I tried to remember and regain some of my language skills. I also did a few jigsaw puzzles i’ve had since forever and i finally had time to do them and it is the most satisfying thing when you put the final peace in. The rest of the little free time I had left in between exams I just spent catching up on series I had missed.
What would you say to motivate other young people to take part in youth projects?
To every young person thinking about going on a youth project: DO IT.
While going alone with people you don’t know at all might seem frightening in the beginning, it is a unique experience you won’t be able to have anywhere else. Being with new people is the best part of any project. All of the people there are hand picked and are kind hearted, smart, interesting people. So don’t let the fact you are going without any friends frighten you you will make a ton of amazing and long lasting friends there. While there you will learn alot from people that have enormous knowledge in the field and do all that in english. I still have never met a person who regreted spending a week on a youth project with young people from all over europe.