Hi! My name is Antonio, I am a Spanish guy who has been volunteering for Eufemia since January 2022. I would say that I am passionate about languages and deep talks (that’s the reason why I like to learn so many languages, to find as many people as possible to annoy talk with). And I am Thibaut, I am coming from France! I love to find new ways of connecting to people and minds (especially mine, even if sometimes it is messy!). I found out that I really like doing…music!
We decided to volunteer for many reasons, obviously to meet new incredible people, and to have a safe place and environment to learn and develop our skills and ideas. Also, we both wanted to discover new perspectives about ourselves that we were not aware of previously.
I (Antonio) think I learned how to listen more and better to other people’s perspectives of the world. We don’t have always a good (or bad) point of view, I understood that there simply are different backgrounds and motivations in each person, and we should try to understand them better without judging, even if we think that the other part is completely wrong since we can never be 100% sure of it. As for me (Thibaut), volunteering is about finding a safe space to open up, try everything and gain both knowledge AND self-confidence, we all need to achieve our objectives.
In our opinion, long-term volunteering is totally recommended. For almost any kind of person. However, we highly recommend that you first do short-term volunteering (2 months) and then if you like it, go for a long term. Long-term is considered to be any project that lasts more than 2 months, but we recommend finding some project for at least 8 months, we found it is the sweet spot for having a good time without having the feeling of missing something. Of course, a 12-month project is also a perfect opportunity to make a commitment to yourself and still enjoy your time in your new city. Some pros of volunteering are quite evident, like getting to know new people (you will make huge connections for sure!) or visiting an incredible country around Europe, which normally also allows you to visit close countries around your city. However, some other things are not that clear and for sure you will enjoy them. Like getting to know yourself better than you could ever imagine. Also, after your journey, you will find out that there are things that you have done, but before you would never imagine being able of doing so.
But, like everything in life, nothing is perfect. You will have bad moments, where you will feel lost, powerless, or desperate. There will be some activities that you will not like that much, and probably you will have issues with your roommates or flatmates (cleaning is not the best part of volunteers’ flats!).
Nevertheless, all of this will also help you to be more resilient, you will learn how to deal with bad moments, with people that are in the same situation as you (or people that already have been there, like mentors, colleagues, and volunteers).
Antonio: I would love to share some good words for some people who for sure made my journey better in many different ways. To Rita, who from the very beginning has been so supportive! I wish every volunteer could have such a person while volunteering. To Martina T., for teaching me so many things about hard work and dedication. The new girls, Marta, Weronika, Tamar, and Joana, even though we didn’t have too much time together it was enough to build an incredible connection among us! Obviously, Thibaut, my roommate, who I consider to be a brother, and I am sure that our story together will not end here. Ivanka and Anna, the two sisters that I never had at home (I just didn’t know I had to look for them in Italy!). Even though none of them are Italian, thank you for your love and support, thank you for making me a better person, a better man, I feel like I grew so much around you! And to the rest of the Eufemia and Escape4Change teams, I really appreciate the time, dedication, and effort you put into each of us for making this experience as good as possible!
Thibaut: If I had to describe the ESC now, I would describe it as a very colorful journey. There have been so many encounters with such inspiring people. Many opportunities to confront ideas and grow as a person. Sharing this journey with other volunteers is also what makes it exceptional, there are all the people from the projects, a bunch of random people: some are kids, some taller kids (also known as adults), there are the people without a roof, people with a special need, the crazy ones and also the boring normal ones. And last but not least, nothing in this journey would be possible without the whole team of Eufemia, an obvious thank you for the work they are doing!