“So far I feel most proud of creating choreography for the dance activity” – Madhavi, EVS volunteer in Sweden

Hello! I’m Madhavi and I have come from Australia to Orkelljunga Sweden to bring and teach circus! I am 19 years old and am working for an NGO on the other side of the world doing what I love. I find it incredible and inspiring as coming from a small town in Western Australia where I had gotten into circus at a young age just as a hobby, it has led me here 8 years later. I had moved to Melbourne which is on the other side of Australia from where I came from, where I attended the National Institute of Circus arts (NICA) to study circus for a year. I then moved to study dance just down the road from NICA. During this time I was looking for work in the circus field to teach, and up came this opportunity from Westside Circus who are partners with IFALL, as part of the National Treasures project. I wanted to come as it was something new and exciting. I knew it would expand my social network and not just for work reasons, but for meeting new people and making new friends. Part of the job was to help and bring joy to others including children and refuge; which is something a part of me that I enjoy. I like to help others and help build their happiness. Another reason is because I think it is a great experience. I am here for circus but there are other tasks within IFALL I can help with which is exciting.


I started off teaching circus every Thursday with my work colleague Sebastian to the refuge children. As time went on, we were given more events to teach at such as at Caprifolen; where our mentor, Minna, runs a vaulting club. We teach the vaulting students circus, school children in the next village and now, anyone that wants to learn circus in depth, we teach on Sundays a ‘circus school’.  I on my own also have started teaching a dance class which is a new activity created by Minna. My passion for dance is very great and I enjoy teaching it even though I have never professionally taught it before. So I am learning just as much as the students are.


So far I feel most proud of creating choreography for the dance activity as choreography is something I have always struggled with. But it has been quite easy to do so in this context and I am so proud of the students picking up my style of movement. I plan to perform my dance with the students in other IFALL projects such as the musical coming up and possibly local events and celebrations.


I have made many friends already in the small town we all live and work in. Mostly with the people that I work with but also new friends I have made around the town. I usually spend my free time with my friends around Strandhem (where we all live) or we go out to the next town, city or village. Most importantly, I go horse riding at least twice a week, if not more by myself or with a friend. I have always loved and adored horse riding and horses in general. So I try spend as much time as I can around them.


From what I have heard and discovered in Sweden, FIKA, is the most important thing here. For those that don’t know what this is, (as I did not know coming from Australia) it is basically morning and afternoon tea provided by the hosts of any event; coffee, tea, snack, sweets etc… Swedes always have Fika when there are meetings, special holidays, social events etc.. This is a cultural thing here it seems and I have no complaints about it, bring on the Fika!


I have learnt how to deal with a lot of situations that I usually would not have to deal with. Both positive and negative. I have been learning how to speak and understand Swedish which is very exciting and fun for me. I am not one to usually be in charge of things or to have control of events, but being here and getting involved with lots of different activities, I have had to step up and ‘take charge’ which is a learning curve for me and it is building me up as a person which I am proud of.

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