28 December 2020

Volunteering on Sunshine in Jerez, Spain

I am Daria and I spent the last 2 months in Jerez de la Frontera, a small city in the South of Spain doing a short time ESC with AJ Inter. AJ Inter is a youth NGO that aims to develop mobility projects, while fostering tolerance and fighting against exclusion attitudes, i.e. racism, xenophobia; promote equality; foster European awareness; promote active participation of young people while using non formal/informal education.

The host organization was very welcoming and did everything that was possible for me and the other volunteers to feel that we are at home and that we feel safe, taking into consideration the current global pandemic. I was able to work with amazing people, passionate about what they are doing and willing to listen to us anytime we had a problem.

Even if two months is not a long period of time, I was able to get involved in a lot of activities, from creating to implementing English conversation clubs, online and face to face, to writing articles for the monthly journal on different topics, i.e. food waste and the environment, the future of agriculture, gender equality strategy and violence against women around the world, and to learn about writing Erasmus+ projects, specifically about KA1 action.

While doing all these activities, I have learned how to create and promote posters on social media platforms, how to record and edit videos, how to use different digital tools in order to make these initiatives more appealing to participants, but also to organize better my time with the resources available.

However, these ESC are not only about volunteering. They are also about personal development. At the same time, I was able to learn more about different cultures. Living with the other volunteers allowed me to discover Austrian, German, and Turkish way of living, traditions, mentalities and so much more about their countries, concerns, passions, and attitudes. We were able to travel around Andalusian region, discover new cities, connect to the locals, trying the local cuisine, and bottom line to become more aware of the cultural experience as a whole. Lastly, I was able to improve my Spanish language, being more confident in talking face to face with people, which also allowed me to learn more about the surroundings.

FUN FACT: Even if it was not the first time I lived in Spain, I still get surprised that everything is closed on Sundays, something that in Romania is not very common. So, if you go to Spain make sure that you have food left for that day.