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Post ESC testimony: The world is bigger than it appears!

What was prior to your decision to go volunteering in other country? Did you have doubts? Support of your family and second thoughts?

I decided to go volunteering, as I wanted to make a gap year in my studies, decision dating since the time before finishing my high school education and yes, my father gave all the support I needed before the departure.

How was the trip to the venue? The acceptance of the host organization and their team?

The trip went so easy and interesting, considering that my father drove me all the way to Poland. The welcome part was perfectly good: I was accepted by a person from the host organization that explained to me clearly about the accommodation and what to do in the following days to facilitate my stay there.

What was your project and volunteering about? Did you find yourself in all of that?

Throughout my volunteering project, together with my colleagues we share experiences about our countries, nations, culture and customs. I stayed there 6 months and when I was supposed to return-I just did not wanted to. I liked the different people I met and their stories (as myself) how they get where there are.

How did you like the environment where you stayed? New friendships, the fun part of the volunteering, cultural visit of places…

The most exciting was the multicultural environment, I just loved the people that surrounded me and I collaborated with. And there was this initial period of getting to know each other but we adapted very fast and before you know it-we made amazing friendships.

Some thoughts after this experience? What challenges did you face and to what level it helped you upgrade as person, new knowledge and competences?

After the termination of the project, I regretted that I did not choose a longer one. Some of the biggest challenges were when I had to travel alone in Warsaw and Torun, except that, I did not face any bigger ones. Of course, learning new skills and the work in multicultural environment were always the biggest challenges I embraced here. I feel that the overall project has transformed me completely as a person, equipped me with new knowledge about people from other countries and new life perspectives.

Would you recommend the experience to the young people who wants to do volunteering?

Definitely, I would like to recommend this kind of experience to everyone, especially for the students who want to make a break in the formal education, even high school students to consider about having a similar experience.

Did you decide to go in Poland with certain expectations? Is the expected experience became reality?

My previous expectations probably were not on the same level as the reality, probably even not that optimistic. Anyway, I am so happy how the overall experience turned into reality.

Some new key competences that you got during the volunteering? New knowledge gained, different cultural traditions. Is there any notable changes in your private life after such an experience?

This kind of experience for sure has deep impact on everyone. I have learned how to live independently, how to travel alone and how to behave better with different persons. I met different cultures and traditions, and learned that the World is bigger than it appears. In my private life, definitely, there are many changes; I became more disciplined and more self-confident.

Luka Nikolovski