Volunteering in the UK: professional development and self-discovery

Despite the challenging situation of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is still possible to volunteer: at home, abroad, online, or a mix of the three! Madalina from Romania talks about her experience of living and working in the UK.

Hello there! My name is Madalina, I am from Romania and currently in London volunteering for IARS with the European Solidarity Corps. My guiding mantra is ‘be the change that you wish to see in the world’ by Mahatma Gandhi.

Our experience of Denmark: the personal benefits of volunteering

Meet Alice, Jacob, and Mystery, three young people from the UK who shared an amazing experience. Bill Page from the MY Trust interviews them about their youth exchange in Denmark.

Funded through Erasmus+ Key Action 1, youth exchanges allow groups of young people (aged 13 to 30) from different countries to meet and live together for up to 21 days. During a youth exchange, participants work together on a chosen topic through a mix of workshops, exercises, debates, role-plays, simulations, outdoor activities etc. designed and prepared by them before the exchange.

An enriching experience: volunteering in Belfast

A flexible and open attitude is truly an asset when volunteering, as Iman and her hosting organisation The Black Box discovered. When the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic cut short a physical volunteering placement, they needed to quickly adapt. Read on to learn how they didn’t let the Coronavirus stop Iman from making the most of her placement.

The Black Box is a culture and arts venue and charity in Belfast. They organise projects for people with learning disabilities, with the aim of making the arts accessible and enjoyable for everyone.

Been around the world

Former European Volunteer Alberto reflects on the huge impact European Solidarity Corps has had on his life in an honest reflection on the ups and downs of the experience, but most importantly on how it has literally widened his horizons.

I joined this program a few years back, after turning 23. At that time, I had never lived by myself before (never mind abroad) and my level of English was, frankly, quite poor. Nevertheless, I felt brave, I was hungry for adventures, and I desperately wanted a life challenge after 5 years going to university and living at my parents’.

Parklife

Matthew from the north-west England spent a month on a volunteering placement in Hungary, working at a bird hospital. Read on to find out about his project, and how much fun he had!

My name is Matthew. I am 20 years old, from north-west England and I took part in a short term (1 month) volunteering project in Hortobágy, Hungary. A brief synopsis of the project is that it seeks to use nature as a source of self-development, creativity and cooperation. It is aimed at people between the ages of 18 and 30 from a variety of backgrounds and nationalities.

Baguette, brie and volunteering

From hearing about the European Solidarity Corps, to actually taking part, Ellie shares her experience in France.

My name is Ellie, and I come from the North East of England, where one might say we speak a language of our own. I studied French at sixth form and aspired to continue my studies of languages at university. However, I soon realised that my grades would not allow me to do so.

“We turned our lives around”: from prison to project mentors

How can Erasmus+ youth projects empower young people at risk of exclusion from society? Find out through the story of Junior and Damian, two young ex-offenders who have turned their lives around and are now helping others to do the same.

One major issue facing young people with a criminal record is reintegrating into society. With limited opportunities, there is often little help for them when they leave prison, leading to a lack of motivation and an increased risk of reoffending.

Wildlife volunteering helps Molly and Joel find their way

We had the opportunity to catch up with two recent volunteers from Everything is Possible in Leeds. Molly Gannon (18) and Joel Ireland (20) took part in a wildlife conservation European Solidarity Corps project in Croatia in the summer, and they shared some of their adventures and thoughts on volunteering with us!

Beginnings

Moving abroad can feel like a massive step into the unknown.