Agur, Praha! – farewell letter from Anais, YEE ESC Volunteer 2019-2020

I always got the same question when I arrived in Prague to do my European Solidarity Corps volunteering in YEE: how come you chose Czech Republic for your long term volunteering experience?

I was only sure about one thing; of all kinds of volunteering, I wanted to have this experience in the environmental field. And then… YEE found me somehow and then I found myself in the magical Bohemian city of Prague. Still not sure who chose who!

Although I finished in June, it has taken me a while to process these last 10 months. If there is one certain thing about doing a ESC volunteering project is that your life changes completely and so do you.

I have participated in two trainings for ESC volunteers which allowed me to discover parts of Czech Republic in a unique way.

I went beyond and I found adventures around every corner. I travelled to Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia, Slovakia, Denmark and Sweden. I made and reunited with Friends and I also found others which were Friends even before we met. It is said that a journey is measured in Friends rather than in miles… I couldn’t agree more!

I’ve also learnt valuable things in the office with YEE, of course. For instance, the challenge to be part of a prep team which took me to Budapest. An intense week of a study session with many lessons learnt. I observed, helped and worked in the Social Media channels, some projects and my own personal projects! One part of my learning experience was learning to learn, and here, I developed a huge tool for that.

Travelling, learning, making Friends, enjoying freedom… There is also a not so bright side amongst all the fun. Whether you know it or not, volunteers share a common fact; we came lost trying to find ourselves… or we find out we are lost and are on our long way to find ourselves. For 2020 ESC volunteers, we had a bonus to add in our Youthpass: being a volunteer abroad while in pandemic times. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? I guess so!

Thanks to the European Solidarity Corps, to the Youth and Environment Europe Team and to all the people and friends who made this a rich learning experience.