2020 is not simply a year like the ones in the 21st century before. It will remain in our minds as the year that changed our lives to a small or even huge extent.
All the ones who expected a lot from the new year, made plans, changed their lifestyle, were disappointed regarding previous expectations. The pandemic all around the world also hit the lives of ESC volunteers, especially those who were supposed to work with people during their projects.
From March to July the situation as a volunteer has been disappointing and depressing. There was not enough work to do. The work was monotonous. The actual project’s work had to be postponed or even cancelled. How to deal with such an uncertain situation?
Depending on when you arrived, there was hardly any chance to get to know your environment and community. The feeling of not belonging to this place was challenging from one day to another.
Gladly, I have decided staying at Hyvärilä. Thinking back to the last half a year, I feel inspired, even more thoughtful. Maybe like a super heroine having developed some skills I have never expected to gain.
During the whole time until now, I really appreciate the solidarity of volunteers for each other. The community has been a great support, offering welcomed diversion, interesting exchange and talks as well as inspiration (regarding activities).
The solidarity among volunteers all over Europe definitely worked out!
Many exchange opportunities were offered from different groups. The network became bigger due to concentration on social media work. For example the EuroPeers started campaigns and offered get-to-know Zoom meetings. Some other offered different kind of participation in their projects – surveys, interviews, talks…
Also the Finnish National Agency reacted quickly to the new situation. Trainings took place online, having the goal to connect and offer exchange between volunteers staying in Finland.
All in all, I have the impression that the experience has been worth it. The time and experience showed that the European Solidarity Corps is not just about projects abroad supporting local communities but also about young people supporting each another beside borders not even thinking about whom they meet or might have a positive influence on.
I am thankful for every person who crossed my way during my volunteering experience. Thanks for broadening my horizon!