One day I made the best decision ever. I was sitting in the university library. I got an email from my friend that a non-governmental organization was searching for an intern for 6 months. I didn’t think a lot about i and applied. In a week, I got a call from this organization. We set an appointment, I went for an interview and I started working in a week.
Different from my strictly political studies, this field seemed to be very smooth, open and way more promising. In the beginning it was difficult to get used to be on time, to schedule everything that I was planning, to be creative, think out of the box and etc. ICPI (International center for peace and integration) taught me that.
From one very interesting and intensive Training Course about diversity and cultural exchange, I went to another one, then another one thanks to networking and good contacts and now, I cannot count, how many projects, therefore – how many different experiences I got, thanks to very important beginning called Erasmus+.
What I am doing in Belgium? Having my best life!
Now I’m living in Belgium, having my best year in 21 years, volunteering in youth health-promoting organization JOETZ vzw, helping in a stress-preventing campaign for youngsters and children in Flanders. Me and my colleagues are going to different locations in Flanders, taking our VR glasses with us to show the #WhatThePok party in a “closer” perspective and thus to give a better perception on how to fight stress. ESC (European solidarity corps) gave me a chance to volunteer in this organization and through this program to be a part of big music festivals, city festivals, summer camps, thus travelling whole around Flanders and beyond.
Thanks to this program I met a lot of people from multiple different countries, all people with very interesting, unexpectedly crazy backgrounds and stories. This helped me to break a lot of prejudices about multiculturalism, living together in diversity, acceptance and respect.
I couldn’t say, that life before ESC wasn’t interesting. I was involved in multiple different, very interesting activities – as conflicts and peacebuilding, social and political studies, photo and videography, wineries and hospitality – how can I say that my life was boring before ESC, but while doing it and being on the very last phase of my volunteering – it became more interesting, I started thinking in a wider perspective, easy at one hand, deeper at another. I learned a lot about cultural differences, which is crucial nowadays.
Dutch classes were very helpful for communication with children while doing my whatthepok-tour in Flanders. And if this language seems easy in the beginning, remember it’s not! But now, I’m proud of my Dutch speaking skills.
Erasmus+ offers programs for your professional development, travelling and etc., but mostly for your personal development. Because at the end, I just noticed how much I have grown.
Why ESC? - Why not?!
Why NOT - give a chance to unplanned adventures, that will happen in a certain place in a certain moment. Why would you say NO to diving into different topics, discovering new things. Maybe in the process you’ll find something that you might like to do in a future? Why REFUSING a great chance to experience living alone, discovering alone, meeting alone, growing up alone with help of a lot of things that happen around you. Why NOT – to have a life changing experience?!
If you, are going to be a volunteer in upcoming time, I’m sincerely jealous and happy for you, cause you don’ know, how many great things are about to happen. Be open, adventures and self-development will find you! Just go for it.
Met vriendelijke groetjes,
My ESC story, written in december 2019 in Brussels
Interested in going abroad on a project and having your own adventure?
Check out www.joetz.be/internationaal for more information.
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