Volunteering at IFOAM Organics Europe: Personal development through international experience

Through the experience that JINT gives me at IFOAM Organics Europe and in the city of Brussels, I am getting to know the heart of Europe and the EU in a new way. I understand the whole network better and I am even happier to be part of it!

I have always believed that it is important to travel beyond borders to better understand the situation in other countries and the world, understand why certain things are done the way they are and what can be learned from them or where there is room for improvement. That is why I decided to go abroad again, to develop myself personally and to reach a new horizon.

The ESC programme and IFOAM Organics Europe offer me the best conditions to achieve this. I received a very nice welcome and was quickly integrated into the team. From the beginning on, I was involved in the tasks of the Research and Innovation Unit and slowly integrated into my new working environment. In the beginning, everything was new to me and I tried to understand everything as fast as possible to support my new team as much as I could.

I quickly settled into the new daily routine in Belgium, and I enjoy new challenges every day. Of course, sometimes they overwhelm me, but usually they motivate me even more, as I love to learn new things. I get to help my colleagues write content for websites, write proposals, organise events, prepare meetings, manage social media and much more.

In my free time, I have already had the opportunity to get to know different sides of Belgium. Together with other volunteers we always find new places and cities to explore and sometimes we go beyond the borders of Belgium. JINT organises meetings where volunteers can get to know each other and exchange experiences. There is also a language course to learn the local language.

After half of my stay, I can personally say that I have already developed in many ways, experienced the advantages of Belgium, and learning to better appreciate many things from home in Austria.

Of course, it is always difficult to leave your home, familiar surroundings and get out of your comfort zone. So far, it has always been worth it for me, and I can already look back on many great memories. Being brave, discovering new things and opening up to the unknown is very important not only personally but also professionally!

The success of IFOAM Organics Europe’s ESC projects has been recognised by SALTO-YOUTH, the official Resource Centre of the European Commission working on European priority areas within the youth field. A recent publication from SALTO called “Showing Solidarity for… Thematic Priorities in the European Solidarity Programme”, included IFOAM OE’s project “Empowering Youth for a Sustainable and Strong Europe” and carried out between 2019-2020, as one of 9 case studies all over Europe. It has been shown as a best practice for its meaningful contribution to the European Green Deal priority for Environmental protection, sustainable development and climate action.

The volunteering project is funded by the European Solidarity Corps programme of the European Union. The sole responsibility of the content lies with the author and communication reflects only the author’s view. The National Agency and the European Commission are not responsible for any use that may be made of the information provided.

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