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How is life as an ESC volunteer in Brno and what I have learned so far? Therefore, if you are interested in trying a volunteering project, but you are not sure, have an eye on this article for tips and tricks.
How did I end up being a volunteer in Brno?
First of all, I am Diana, a 22 years old graduated student from Romania. I always had in mind the volunteering experience and I thought this is the perfect moment as I finished school. I remembered someone told me about the European Solidarity Corps (ESC). What is this? A project funded by the EU for people between 18-30 years old, that want to go volunteering or find a job around Europe. I said „why not?“ and I have started to search for volunteering projects on the ESC platform. I could hardly choose because there were so many great projects. However, I decided to go to Brno, Czech Republic, and be a volunteer at Mladiinfo ČR. If you are interested to check out what opportunities are available, I attached here the ESC website.
What was my first impression after my arrival in Brno?
After one day traveling from Romania to Brno, I got a warm welcome from my coordinator, Eliška, and the other volunteer, Zuzanna. How is my life as a foreigner in the Czech Republic? I got to experience that excitement for the unknown which makes you wonder how your life will look like from now on. My first impression was: „Wow, this city looks awesome, the people I have met so far are very nice and I am glad I took this opportunity“. To be honest nothing from this first impression has changed. Of course, I had some difficulties and still have when it comes to the language. However, people in Brno are nice and they help you out, even if you don’t speak Czech.
What do I have to do as a volunteer at Mladiinfo ČR?
As a volunteer in Brno here, at Mladiinfo ČR, I have had many different tasks since I came. Starting with learning how to write articles in WordPress (this is what I am doing right now), how to use Canva, or how to take photos for promoting products on the Mladiinfo website and edit them, and many more. For more information about this lovely organization and what they do you can access their website here. Moreover, I had to experience On-arrival training for almost one week. What is On-arrival? Training for the volunteers which involves creative exercises to get them to know about ESC values. And of course, to give the opportunity to meet other volunteers.
Besides the skills you gain as a volunteer, you also have the chance to gain new perspectives about other cultures. I am interacting with people with different cultural backgrounds and it is so interesting to see how good you get along despite the differences. I also have improved my self-discipline when it comes to money as I have a limited budget, but sufficient, from the European Solidarity Corps. Moreover, as a foreigner in a new country, I have to put myself out there in a new social environment and to adapt to the given situation which helped me to have a flexible mindset. In terms of learning, I gain knowledge while doing my tasks, which is more useful for me, than formal education.
Why I feel I took one of the best decision
Okay so, I have to start by saying that my parents were not that happy when they heard I want to take a break from studies and be a volunteer for 9 months. I actually had to defend my decision in the beginning and I am happy I did that. Not only that I have more time to decide what I truly want in terms of career, but I can help an NGO and improve or develop skills in a practical way. Definitely living in a new country, without having my family or friends, is helping me to be more independent and solve problems by myself.
If you want to read more about other volunteers that went abroad with the help of Mladiinfo ČR, here is one article from, Zuzanna, who is volunteering with me in Brno, and if you are more curious you can check this one as well.
And not the least here are the current offers for volunteering projects.