Being a volunteer - full of surprises and advantages!
„Volunteering“ – you can understand how amazing this is only if you have experienced it yourself. A totally new experience, knowledge, way of life. A period in your life when you go through heaven and hell, through all possible ups and downs in your work and in your free time, from the moment you decide to be a volunteer till the end of your Service. While being a volunteer you will be asked two main questions. Why did you choose to be a volunteer? Why this country? You will probably ask me that too. So here are my answers.
I come from Bulgaria, where I was in my last year of studies and was working for a few years in a wonderful office with great colleagues. I was doing good at work, having the love and support from my friends and family. My life was fun, organized and peaceful. But at some point I realized that maybe it was too organized and peaceful. I was in need of a change – new place, new people, new adventures. And as a sign of faith I saw the call for volunteers in European Movement Estonia. I didn’t need to think more! I knew with all my heart that this was my next step in life!
You will probably wonder how I took such a decision so easily. I actually already knew all the people in EME after having a job shadowing in the same organization 2 years ago. During that week in 2011 I fell in love with Estonia, with the people, the way of life and work. Taking part in this project was not only going to give me new experiences and the change I needed but also a different perspective of youth work, the NGO way of work. I knew that this was the best project for me!
The months of preperation went by quickly and February 2013 came! I said goodbye to my family and friends, to my colleagues, to my home and took off to the unknown. I was scared and excited, happy and sad! And even though Estonia welcomed me in the middle of the night, with lots of snow and cold weather, it also welcomed me with open arms.
Five months have past since my arrival and I may say that my life is full of surprises and advantages. Working in EME has already given me a lot of knowledge and possibilities to learn more about the Estonian culture, youth work and education. These months have changed me in many and better ways. I have become more active and confident, I have taken my life in my own hands and have grown as a person, challanged myself and proved that I can „jump into the unknown“ and get the most out of it. Having experienced so much now I am even more excited about what will happen in the next seven months.
So if you are also at this point of your life when you need more, then take my example. Be a volunteer! All you need is to find the most suitable project for yourself, and European Commission’s Youth in Action Programme is here to help you.