One year as an ESC volunteer
My experience as an ESC volunteer and why you should think of join a project too.
Life during a pandemic is not easy, and being young and full of dreams for your future during this is absolutely not easy. The ESC volunteering projects came in my life almost as fate, I applied at the end of 2019 to an insertion online and I really had no idea of what was about to happen. My project in Hungary at the Hang-kép association was due to start in march 2020 but the universe was thinking otherwise.
My first flight for the year-long projects was canceled two days before the pandemic exploded in the whole world, with the first lockdown in Italy followed by Spain and then Europe and the rest of the planet. I was confused, sad for the missing opportunity and I had no Idea when I would have be able to reach my destination, luckily enough I found amazing people in Hungary, and since day one my coordinator was incredibly comprehensive and kind.
With a lot of patience and many failed trials in the end the time came, and on the 9th of August 2020 my journey in Hungary started.
When you leave your house and your home country for such a long time the fear of what’s going to happen, how can you actually face everything that is coming and so on, is big and hard to overcome, but that’s just the beginning. Thanks to the ESC project you don’t feel really alone in any time of the trip, what is great about this opportunity is that you can experience life abroad, in autonomy but with help and assistance. Not only I had a very kind coordinator, I also had the opportunity to talk with many other volunteers during the on arrival and mid term training, which are two weeks of training offered for free for every volunteers that joins one of the ESC projects. In these two workshop experience trained people will help you understand how is living abroad, what is normal to experience and how to overcome certain obstacles and fears, how to find motivation and how to get the best out of this incredible experience.
Other than that, of course, I had the luck to have mostly really good coworkers and amazing friends that I met here in Hungary, plus the projects provides you with a mentor which is a figure that works outside from your association and that has as main purpose to help you in any way possible. If you have trouble with you coordinators, with coworkers, roommates or simply if you need a hand adjusting with life in a foreign country… whatever need you may have, the mentor is there to help.
My luck was big, and I admit that because not only I joined a project that gave me a lot in terms of experience and learning, I also met incredible people and made great experience; even in this situation it was not always easy to adjust, and for whoever is passing though an hard time I have to say: it is normal. Not everyday can be great, and sometimes things just don’t work out, that is the main lesson the 2020 has gave me, but this experience meant so much for me, for my working experience and for my personal development as a person. I feel changed since I left one year ago, and for the better.
Why was it so great to have made this experience? Because not only I managed to get better with photography, photo editing, videomaking and so on, I also had the chance to improve my English, to meet so many people from all around the world, sharing incredible experience, opening my mind, realize many of my privileges that I just take for granted… growing as a person, that’s the main point. I also had the opportunity to living alone for the very first time, I learned how good can I be in cooking and caring for my friends and I had the incredible opportunity to do so while in a safe environment.
If you’re thinking of living abroad the stress can be really high, not only because you’re living alone but also because you have to think at so many different problems and overcoming obstacles on your own, so if you’re looking for an easier way to experience something like this, the ESC projects is the right choice for you. You’re provided with help, with an insurance, a house an pocket money for your basic needs so you can focus on the good side of your experience abroad.
To sum up I have to say that I was lucky to have take part in such a great experience, and I am glad to have put improve my pandemic year with such a project, it was sad to have the possibilities reduced by this huge worldwide problem, but is was great to have something so good to take home with me.
ESC project useful links: