Last Saturday at December 05 2020 it is international volunteers’ day. The day for economic and social development. I didn´t even know that there is a certain day where people worship the work and effort of the volunteers, until my coordinating organisation told me. The UN established this day in the year 1985. Ever since, this day should focus on the volunteers’ contribution, where the government and the society should be aware of. A day to thank the volunteers for their work. Moreover, volunteers and organisations get the chance to promote their work, let the society know what they want to achieve with volunteering and maybe find new volunteers for the upcoming year. Especially this year we should have realised how important volunteers are. During the Corona pandemic there has been so much help needed, because employees cannot handle everything on their own. Not just in medical centers, also with buying food for people who need to quarantine for instance. This year is a year where we really learn what solidarity means and that we need to help each other to deal with this pandemic in an adequate way. That is the reason why this year’s motto is: “Together we can trough volunteering”
What is the ESC?
Well, I thought this day is good chance to inform you more about my volunteer year, because many people ask questions about it. I am doing an ESC, a European Solidary Corps. It is for young adults between 18 and 30. This European Commission does not only support young people while being abroad, it also funds them. The European Commission just provides the money, the social and organisation aspect is covered by the organisations in the specific countries. However, not only people who live in Europe can volunteer in ESC, also youths from all over the word have the change to make great experiences with this project. Furthermore, food money, pocket money, flat rent and insurance is covered. Therefore, I just need to find a project, a sending and hosting organisation. I would say there is not so much I need to handle myself, expect of applying for projects. When I am abroad most of the issues handles my supporting organisation in advance. While the hosting organisation is based in the home country, the hosting organisation is in the country where I do my volunteering service. During the time here, I do have barely contact with my supporting organisation back home in Germany, because everything has been managed on site. The volunteering time needs to be between two months up to one year.
When you go volunteering abroad, the key goal is learning. Learning in an intercultural context. To gain new experiences and learn in not an official way. Not like in school or university where you study for a subject to learn new things, in the ESC it is more a learning by doing or based on experiences. This year I have already gained experiences and learnt so many new things. Not only to live on my own and to work every day. Also small things like how to make a Corona test in a foreign country, how to receive parcels in Lithuania. Yeah, this is really interesting system in Lithuania, which I didn´t expect. Overall, I would say that volunteering, especially abroad has huge advantages. The learning in an international context more about yourself and other countries, people cultures is something what I really like about my current situation. Nevertheless, I am not the only one who benefits from volunteering, also the people who work with me gain new knowledge and make new experiences. Therefore, it is a win win situation. I can definitely recommend everyone to do an ESC!