Volunteering – a lesson worth learning!

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I come from one very small, but very beautiful country. Wonderful and dyed with all the colors is my small Bulgaria. In the East you can spot the endless golden sands of the Black Sea, in the South – the high green hills of the Rhodope Mountains; in the North - the Pacific deep waters of the Danube and in the West are the mountain ranges surrounded by the beautiful scenic valleys.
Before I decided to become a volunteer I consider that I was one confused girl (seen from my family’s eyes already a grown up woman that should get married soon), with an average job, yet independent, with accommodation near the beach in the city where half of the Bulgarian people dream to live - Varna. However I was filled with a sense of boredom, loneliness, indifference towards life and everything else. Every day was the same thing over and over again, seeing the same people, going in the same clubs, problems… I don’t know if you have ever experienced that feeling or been in the same situation as I was 10 months ago, but I had the feeling as if something have caught me for the neck and did not leave to breathe in a normal way. I was in a period when I needed a change… a big change – so badly. But what was I supposed to do, how, where? I was looking for a different options and opportunities and then I remember about one of my friends from Canada that went in Korea like a volunteer. In that same moment I said to myself - “Ok, why not?”
Well if you are 27 years old it’s a bit hard to tell your parents that you’re becoming a volunteer and you are planning to work for no money somewhere in another country. But I got over that somehow. The down side of everything was that I come from Bulgaria – the country that according to my opinion is the less involved in volunteering and where this concept is not spread at all, not to talk about my city. Not only my parents, but also my friends were wondering what is wrong with me and why I am thinking to take this kind of step. Also, to be honest my options were not many, especially taking into consideration the fact that I was able to speak only my sweet, native language – Bulgarian. So seen from this perspective the mission seemed almost impossible. I knew just few simple words in English that I’ve learned by myself, because I’ve never had the chance to study this language.
Going above all of this, one cold February’s day, I decided to take the leap and I brought a big decision. Actually huge! I left my secure job, my cozy accommodation on the beach and I got back in my small native city, that few months before that I thought that I would never do it. Going back to my city was the bottom option for me. When I told my family that I want to go somewhere to be a volunteer their reaction was not so good at all. My mother said that I am crazy and she didn’t want to speak with me about this anymore and also my friends - as I already mentioned they didn’t take me seriously because they were thinking that I am just joking and I will soon give up from this idea. Generally, I had no support from anyone and also, one small detail was present as well – I did not have any knowledge of how to become a volunteer. But after all, the most difficult step was already taken and I was sure that I will succeed if I am patient enough. So after few months of non-stop researching and informing myself from different sources about volunteering, I succeeded to find a project without any help from a sending organization and without any support from anywhere. I will say one big thank you to my hosting organization- A.C.T.O.R. for the chance that they give me regardless the language barrier and for the help that they offer me before coming here in Romania, as well as during the whole EVS project. So as you can see, impossible is nothing and when people say this – I believe it is true because I’ve experienced it on my own skin!
I needed the change desperately, to strive to be a better person, to be useful for someone and to re-find myself and the path that I want to continue my life from this point on. I wanted to know more about the problems that the world is facing with, to become more independent and stronger so I would be able, some day, to help solving these problems by myself – with my own plans, methods and actions. The voluntary work is one lovely way for the young people to get experience in different areas: education, journalism, social work, marketing… The possibilities are endless. The volunteering is a great way to spend some of your time and in return to gain very valuable skills, whether professional or practical.
On the other hand it would be stupid not to mention the fact that you will enjoy the free living in another country and experience the touch with many different cultures. This for me is one of the biggest advantages of the volunteering abroad. It is a unique experience and training at the same time, interacting with new cultures, tasting different types of food, hearing new languages and meetings many new and interesting people from all around the world.
One of the many goals I’ve set before to come in Romania was to develop as much as possible my language skills, because the best way to learn a language is when you practice it daily. In the beginning of my project, it was really difficult for me because I was not able to speak English good. I had problems with understanding the people which I worked with, as well as to express myself in a good way – so many times I was in a situation where I was misunderstood. I had trouble making complex sentences and I can say that I almost didn’t understand anything. But being in a surrounding like that, I was advancing very fast with my English. I understood that the languages barriers are not so important, but more important are the values and the motivation that you have inside of you.
The volunteering helped me to see my life in new and different way. To be able to say that I can change something in the life of others, to be the reason for the smile of a child as I am now, I will say that this is a long way is worth and you should never give up. We should be fighters and fight for our dreams – it’s the most important thing for one person because YOU are the most important person in your life and if you don’t work to accomplish your dreams, to face your fears and to make your life better, no other person in the world will do that for you. If you feel better about yourself, you’ll make all the people around you to feel better about you. These little things changed my life and fulfilled it with meaning - finally. Whit each day like a volunteer I had the chance to learn something new for the people, for compassion, sharing and for myself as well. For 8 months like a volunteer I’ve learn that there is nothing better than helping other people to be happy because in the same time you make yourself happy. I’ve learn that the only thing that makes me feel complete and happy is the sharing, because if you give more of yourself to others, you will get more. I’ve learned that there is nothing scarier than our own prejudices and fears that prevent us seeing the real things in the life. In the life there are not impossible things. If you just follow your dreams, each door will start to open for you, one by one. Just be a ready and take your chances.

Fifth Edition

5While closing the 4th edition of Scriptamanent, after the final meeting in Izmir, we are already preparing the new call for the next edition of the project. Stay tuned!

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