Imagine you are young, really young, and you take the decision to leave your family and friends, your comfort zone, to challenge yourself and grow.
Imagine that it can be your first time abroad, that you want to take time to understand what your path is, to take a break from your life, from your routine.
Imagine that you decide to leave because you want more opportunities, because you want to meet people, because you want to get in touch with a new culture, a new language.
Imagine that it is the beginning of 2020.
This is what many young people around Europe are living right now. Surely, nobody could imagine what it would happen, but, fact is that many are facing a challenge bigger than considered before.
Since, because of the coronavirus, many activities were suspended, especially those involving groups of people, like exchange programs, classes, kids activities, volunteers are now, in many cases, with no job to do.
There is a general sense of lack of motivation and directionless in the volunteers who are or were doing their European solidarity corps projects.
On the one hand, some of them decided to go back home. For all of them it was not an easy choice, because the volunteering is generally something people believe in. Nevertheless, being close to the family in a critic situation is what humans do.
On the other hand, some decided to stay and organized their work, with the support of the hosting organizations (that in the case of Michela, who is in Lithuania, sends cakes to volunteers, to make them feel better): online and remote work, new projects and many ideas to study.
In particular, in this period many volunteers are working on collecting stories of the other volunteers from all around the Europe.
It is the case of the Blog of Hyvärilä Volunteers (1) where 12 volunteers who are doing their ESC in Finland were interviewed and told their stories.
What comes from the blog is a general sense of uncertainty, but also many positive feelings for the future. It is nice to read how these young people are working on new ideas and being creative, showing what “learning from volunteering” means.
Davide’s words say it better:
“Afterall I think many people are now experiencing and facing the utility of one of the volunteers’ biggest skill: adapting to new situations. We are used to that and it can be useful to look to this situation in a different perspective” (2)
If, on the one hand, lockdown made experiencing the new culture hard, on the other hand, young ideas show to be stronger. And, fortunately, we live in the era of the Internet, that is giving us, in the last times, its best part.
(2) Davide's story
Thank you to the volunteers who answered my questions