So, this idea originated after I finished my Bachelors degree in English and Dutch language, literature and history. I had no intentions of ever going on ESC but because of the pandemic, my chances of doing my masters degree in the way I wanted were looking slimmer and slimmer by the day. I mean, I could write my thesis in Belgium, but the other option was to do it in the U.S.A. Who wouldn’t want to go abroad to write a thesis on their favourite subject, right? And have a chance to meet their favourite artists by doing so? But, I digress.
I had to come up with a creative way to fill in the year of free time I had just created for myself. So, I started reading up on things people usually did on their sabbatical year. Which led me on the path of the ESC (European Voluntary Service).
Coming from a Western European country, you would think that the core values of Belgium and Poland would be somewhat similar. They are not. The small differences are what shapes a culture in my opinion.
- E.g people point with their fingers when you ask them for directions or when they want to point something out. Pointing with your finger in Belgium, pretty much for any reason, is considered really rude.
- When waiting in line people here do not talk to each other. Striking up a conversation with a random person is something I’ve always seen as normal as a full loaf of sliced bread. Which is also something that is different here in Poland than it is in Belgium. How come they sell half loafs of bread, lol?
Right now, the combined energy I get from discovering a new city, culture, country, volunteering in a school, and meeting my fellow volunteers from all over Europe is something I can’t describe. The past month has been amazing in every sense of the word. Only good experiences to write home about.
The small differences are what shapes a culture in my opinion.
Of course I could not submit this blog entry without crediting the Schuman team who have, without a doubt been so helpful in every sense of the word. The first two weeks of introduction were fun, exciting and educational. They tried their best in everything they have done up until now, or at least that’s how it felt like. Joanna, Asia, Iga and Marta, thank you a lot for your hard work and enthusiasm you have passed over to us.
I could go on about a lot of different things, but I wanted to put out the general consensus I have reached.
Thank you for reading, c u next month.
🎞️ In this video Eline testifies about her ESC experience in Georgia at ICPI!