Concordia - A home, away from home

A home, away from home

My name is Michelle, I am 26 years old and I come from the Canary Islands. And this is my testimony as a volunteer in Amiens, France.

A volunteering experience that was supposed to be only 6 months turned into 10 months. Why? Because I was enjoying the experience so much that I wanted to have more time. So I asked my host organisation to extend my volunteering, and luckily they said yes.

When I arrived in Amiens, I wrote a blog post about how excited I was to take part in this project. I arrived with my heavy suitcase and a lot of expectations, fears, desire for adventure and so on. A strange mix of emotions difficult to explain, but which were positive, thanks also to the welcome of the Concordia Picardie delegation. After 10 months, I can say: it was worth it!  I am very happy to have had the opportunity to come to France and to get to know its culture and language. 

My main mission throughout my volunteering has been to promote international mobility, but I have also done other things. For example: being an animator in a summer camp, creating publications for social media, organising a Clean Walk, creating and running a short term ESC project, giving talks to promote volunteering in schools and high schools, helping with some administrative tasks, etc. 

The biggest challenge for me was to lead and organise a short-term ESC project. I had to get used to the role of leader in front of a whole group of people. After those weeks, I was physically and mentally battered, but I had also realised that I am capable of doing things like that.

That’s the best thing about volunteering. You constantly encounter new and challenging situations that force you to improvise and find solutions. Although it wasn’t always easy, all these experiences helped me grow in some way.

 It’s funny how a faraway and totally different place can come to feel like home over time. How strangers become new friends. And how you can learn another language without even knowing a word. 

It is sad to end this adventure; I will miss my friends and this city so much. I feel that I have learned a lot of things and grown as a person. I think everyone should, at least once in their life, volunteer.

What I will remember most from this experience living, working and interacting with people of different nationalities is the power of diversity. The diversity of ways of thinking, the diversity of ways of doing things and yet a certain unity. I leave the city with a more open mind and a better understanding of others.

This experience, and many other similar small moments, taught me to go with the flow and jump into the moment, to experience the unknown and see what happens. Most of the time something good will happen. And if not, it can be an opportunity to learn and grow.

I can highly recommend the programme because it is the perfect way to explore another culture, to challenge yourself and to experience and celebrate European diversity. It’s my turn to go back home, but I will never forget this experience. See you soon Amiens!

Publié le mardi 26 avril 2022 à 12:12:23

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