Hi, hello! My name is María, a former You In Europe volunteer from Spain. I finished my ESC in Nea Moudaniá (Greece) not too long ago, on the 31st of August 2021 to be more exact, and now
it’s time to reflect about my experience.
I had been interested in doing an ESC project for some time and I was lucky enough to find a program, Volunteers for Nea Moudaniá, that matched my studies and work experience, which is in media. So, at the beginning of September 2020 I headed to Greece feeling a bit scared but excited about the coming year.
How this specific project works is that each volunteer has a main task either in media, sports, education or the environment.As I told you, mine was creating audiovisual content fot the NGO’s social media channels: from small documentaries to photos of all the activities we were doing. Apart from that, we all had activities together such as a web radio show, managing the volunteers Instagram account or doing environmental work, like having a perma garden, which helped us bond even more.
In general, working with the people at You In Europe (Stavroula, Vasilis, Ioanna, Grigoris and our mentor Igor, Igorito as we like to call him) was lovely, as they really encouraged us to be proactive and to bring ideas to the table . Plus, it felt like a small family to be honest as they took great care of us. Thanks to all of this we were able to do a ton of projects that we were really excited about and interested in.Because of Covid a lot of them were focused on media content and social media management, so we learnt a lot about how that works along the way.
Speaking of which, I think the Covid situation, as bad as it was, forced us to adapt better to uncertain situations, to find different ways of doing things, thus making us more creative and active. Even in the worst times of a 5 month lockdown, we were organizing upcoming projects and creating stuff, which I think really helped us get through it.
Of course, at the beginning everything was new, exciting and a bit scary but the last 5-6 months felt the most special to me.By that point I had gotten used to life there, my relationship with the other volunteers was great, we were getting to know more about Greek culture and I was actually starting to speak a bit of Greek, which made the experience so much more inmersive. Plus, we finally got to explore more about this lovely country and we loved it!
Even if I did not know much about Greece, it’s a country that welcomed us from the beginning. A lot of the time it felt familiar, as I quickly realized how similar to my home country Greece is; the people, the weather, some cultural aspects and even the sound of the language!
I am very happy about my decision of coming as I met amazing people with whom I formed a great relationship (special shoutout to my Italian sister and flatmate Sofia, my Polish gurl Natalia, Pedrito and Marta, for making the experience feel much more special) . The whole year felt like a rollercoaster in a way but the good things definitely outweigh the not so good ones. It was a very challenging and introspective experience, full of personal growth, that taught me a lot of lessons that I will take with me for the rest of my life.
Now that it’s been almost a month and I’ve had more time to look back on this year and seeing how much it has given me, I can only hope I also gave something to the community and to the people who shared this experience with me .
Many hugs guys!