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Meet Ruben & Robin, our new Belgian volunteers!

Finally! On the 11th of July me and my co-volunteers arrived in Skopje, after a few delays of our flights from Brussels to Zagreb and from Zagreb to Skopje, finally we made it.

My name is Ruben, a 19-year-old Belgian who finds great joy in music, beers, politics, exploring new countries and their cultures & people. I grew up by the Belgian coast, which by any means does not mean that I grew up in a beachfriendly and good weather climate, so coming to Skopje was a nice change from the rain and wind for once.

Currently I reside in Brussels, the capital of Belgium, and for a fact also the capital of Europe, so coming here on my first day I was very touched to hear the locals’ problem and the protests.

I’m really hoping to learn and understand more of how the people in the region feel about the EU and their institutions, what issues people deal with here, but nonetheless I am more than delighted to discover all the beauty this amazing place and its people have to offer!

So far, on my first day in Skopje I attended the “Thinking forward with Erasmus+” event, and I immediately knew I came to the right place. I got to listen and speak to some great people with great minds, and great plans for their people and their futures. I heard their call for activism and engaging in progression, as a group of youth and especially as the youth of the West-Balkan countries.

I found it very empowering to hear and see the projects, and how here in Macedonia the youth themselves takes matters into their own hands and actively is fighting for change.

Most importantly, I want to thank Volunteers Centre Skopje for making me and my fellow Belgian friend feel so welcome, and for the great conversations I’ve had with the people in and around the centre. I have the feeling this is the start of a great journey for me, and I hope that I can become and stay part of this beautiful team, and hopefully come back after my 3-week term for some more time!

All the peace and love (:

Ruben Meirlaen

This is the story of a Belgian boy, who came to Skopje as a volunteer to work together with some amazing people on the Voices magazine.

So here my story starts.

My name is Robin, I am 23 years old, and I live in Antwerp, Belgium. I have one brother and I like to work out and jog when I have some spare time.

I was studying administrations when I heard about some interesting projects some organization has on their planning. They told me there was a project in Skopje, Macedonia, where you work in an office on writing articles, interviews, and many more. As soon as I heard about this, I was already packing my things. I was really looking forward to this because I am very interested in people’s stories, and I really want to get to know people. There was only one problem, I had to leave Belgium for more than 3 weeks. For the first time in my life I am leaving my hometown for such a long time. It was a little bit scary at first but until now I don’t regret making this decision. A few days before departure I was all the time getting more excited to explore the capital city, Skopje.

We will stay here from July 11th until August 3rd, also my birthday, and I really hope to learn new things. Our trip started in Brussels, the capital city of Belgium. We had to take a plane to Zagreb, Croatia, and from there we could take a plane to Skopje. When we arrived in Skopje, Goran was already waiting for us at the airport to take us to the place we live. We share our apartment with two German girls, Marie and Angi, and one Spanish guy, Nil, and we were very glad to meet them. We received a very friendly welcome by all of them and they immediately took us for dinner and showed us around.

Our job will be about writing articles and interviews about things all of us think are interesting to read. We hope to write some articles you may like and we will make the best of it.

I would also like to say big thanks to the redaction of Voices to give us the opportunity to be here. I really hope we can all work together and we can stay friends, even when we go back to the little Belgium.

Robin Lambrechts