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When I was writing this article, I was trying to find a strong start, a unique reason that made me come to Iceland to devote myself to sustainability. But the truth is that there was no such a thing. Everything happened very fast and I didn’t plan my EVS project, it all came at the right moment in the right place, and I took it.
When I got back one year later, I realized that it was probably one of the best decisions I’ve made and that my EVS experience changed my life. And that’s why I want to share it with you.
My name is Celia, I’m a Spanish 24 year old that spent 12 months volunteering in Reykjavík as an EVS promoting sustainable and responsible traveling for Hosteling International Iceland (HI Iceland); I was called a “Green Messenger”. These hostels have a very strong environmental policy that have been developing and growing since 1999. I am the 8th generation of EVS Green Messengers, which proves the commitment of HI Iceland towards our beloved Earth. Among my responsibilities, I was in charge of training the new employees, teaching them about our policy and practices, I also had to write the Swan report (a Nordic certification that shows that a product or a business is working towards sustainability), I was visiting our hostels around the country to educate and help them to become more environmentally friendly and I was organizing all sort of activities and events to promote responsible traveling among tourists and locals.
The best about it was the variety and the freedom of creativity, but especially feeling that my work was going somewhere and more people were learning about the importance of having a sustainable way of living because our resources won’t last forever and the planet is suffering the consequences of our actions. On top that, the volunteer service. Doing it for the sake of believing in it, expecting nothing in return, isn’t it beautiful? It is, and it feels great!
Why Iceland? Why not? Exotic, mysterious, isolated island, where glaciers and volcanoes meet each other, with waterfalls, black, red and white beaches, fjords, hot rivers, endless summer nights, mystical northern lights. The list continues. Iceland is truly unique and this is unquestionable.
There isn’t a greatest memory but hundreds of them from my experience: the people I’ve met, the friends I’ve made, the knowledge I’ve acquired, the country I’ve discovered, the lessons I’ve learned. I have been very lucky.