Europe could not afford wasted talent, social exclusion, and youth disengagement; therefore, the EPVP 3.0 project provided youngsters with easily accessible opportunities to engage in solidarity actions, enabling them to act for the benefit of the community as active citizenship while gaining valuable experience and competences, thereby improving their further employability.

Hello, I am Milena, I am 21 and I have spent the last 6 months in Bucharest, volunteering at COSI (Civic Orientation and Social Integration). It was a life-changing experience that developed a different me. When we arrived in Bucharest, we had one week and a big list of places to discover, our organizers asked us not to use Google, so we took the map, mentioned everything on it, and started our journey. It was interesting and occasionally challenging to realize that you had passed right by the location you needed to go and weren’t aware of it, but months later we became guides of those locations. We were taking our family, friends, and project participants to locations like our hometowns and even explaining the histories of the structures.

We were six volunteers from Armenia, Austria, Germany, France, and Spain. We were working and living together. We ran many initiatives promoting sustainability, EU values, etc. Two Erasmus+ projects that we had the opportunity to manage provided us with plenty of new knowledge, challenges, and opportunities. We even had the chance to lead workshops on the issues we were interested in, as part of the Erasmus+ projects. I particularly enjoyed the intercultural evenings in each project because I learned a ton about other cultures from the locals who were educating us about their traditions, dances, songs, and amazing stories that you would never learn about, in any history lesson. I learned a lot for myself over those evenings, and I suppose I can say that the projects and individuals there, changed my view of the world around me.

We went to museums, beautiful parks, interesting locations in Bucharest, and other cities in Romania. Our organizer tried to involve us in anything that is connected to Romanian traditions and the country, we did classes of the Romanian language and presented Romania in any intercultural evening, at some point we became true Romanians, knew a lot of words to teach others, traditions, even dances, of course ate traditional food, etc. We were very familiar with the city, and even knew the metro stations by heart, so the city became like home. We laughed, we worked, we danced, we sang, we taught our own languages to each other, shared our traditions, habits, we explored and learnt from each other, etc. In those six months, we went through a lot of things that I can’t describe in words. And for all of this: for this wonderful experience, for their hard work, concern, and ability to lift our spirits I want to thank Andrei and Alessia . And of course, volunteers living and working with me. My one and only ESC experience wouldn’t be the same without them.

Till the next meeting.