Dear brave volunteers,
Leaving your home country to live abroad for a long time is a challenge. You can feel proud for applying to such an experience. Now that I have almost finished my volunteering, I would like to give you the advice I would have found useful to read or hear before starting my own project.
• You may feel overwhelmed because you will have a lot of new things to deal with. Remember: you are just a volunteer, it’s okay if you need more time to finish a task or if the end result is not perfect. You are here to share your skills and develop new ones.
• You have to work 6 hours a day, it’s less than a regular worker’s day, but the rhythm can still be tiring sometimes, especially if you work in front of the screen. Find a balance in your missions, so you still have some energy to do something else after your work.
• You will share a flat with volunteers from other countries. You will meet so many people from so many countries. It’s an amazing, international experience, you will learn a lot of interesting facts about different cultures. It’s not ideal to live a local experience though, because you get easily drawn into an international group and stay with international people. It’s not ideal to learn the language of the country either since you mostly communicate in English. Keep this in mind when you set your expectations.
• You may miss your friends and family. Don’t wait to miss them very hard before planning to visit them. I thought I could spend the year without coming back home, it was a mistake. After five or six months, I was missing my close ones so hard that I couldn’t really enjoy my time in Poland.
• You may not like everything, yet you will always discover and learn a lot – I mean A LOT – about yourself and your host country. Keep these learnings preciously for your future life. Being a volunteer is a springboard. You can achieve more than you can possibly imagine. The European Solidarity Corps gives you many opportunities. Take them and more will come.
I hope this letter is helpful. If you have any questions, you can find me on Instagram (@kylodoll) and write to me, anytime. Zapraszam!
Have a wonderful time in Kraków!