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A completely different experience: ESC in Romania

Meet Daniel, a volunteer in a European Solidarity Corps project in Arad, Romania, lasting for over 9 months and coordinated by Ofensiva Tinerilor. Read his article to discover Daniel’s initial reflections and impressions on his volunteering journey:

Despite having quite a bit of experience with Erasmus projects, some more beautiful, some not so beautiful, some more interesting, some maybe not so interesting, I find myself in a completely different volunteer experience than before. I am honestly confused but pleasantly surprised.

I am living with ‘Roommates’. You probably noticed the quotation marks, and it might already seem odd to you. If we go by formal expressions, we are all roommates here, but in practice, it’s not exactly like that because we live as a commune, and among ourselves, we call each other brothers. We literally break the same bread.

With heartfelt respect for all the other organizations I’ve had experience with, I would say that the organization Ofensiva Tinerior is one of the few organizations that I personally got to know and where volunteers are placed in such high regard and have such a friendly relationship built with them.

And yes, the ESC volunteer experience is wonderful when you hear that you are chosen to participate, but when it comes time to pack up and leave, it’s not as interesting, knowing that somewhere far away, it will be for 9 and a half months. That you will have to leave your family, friends, and everything else and go somewhere where you will have to get used to a completely different situation, entirely new people, a new routine, new rules, a new language, an unfamiliar environment… and when you arrive, the hardest part: The next 9 and a half months, that is your reality. But, this time, it’s not a problem for me because the challenges are always much different if you remember that there is always someone beside you to whom you can turn for advice, someone who constantly supports you and genuinely understands you. In my case, that’s my sending organization VCS – Skopje.

What I have to say to all those who want to volunteer somewhere: There are as many projects, sending, and hosting organizations around the world as you want. It’s not a problem; you can find something for yourself today. But don’t let the text look like the words of someone who only brags about everything around them, but as they say: Listen to the traveler, not the fortune teller. I have many different Erasmus experiences spanning 8 years, but only on this project am I living what I always imagined (even though I wouldn’t say I’m very creative with cutting, drawing, and making origami, but the important thing is what I want to learn, and everyone else around me is supporting and helping me in that).”

Daniel Shikoski