MEDIART Coming Together – Karolin Kasper – 11 Months Volunteering in Greece
Name of the project: MEDIART – Coming Together
Date:01 .09.2020 – 30.06.2021
City/Country: Serres, Greece
In the Summer of 2020 I saw a facebook post by Noored Ühiskonna Heaks, where there was an opening for a volunteer in Greece, starting from September. I read through the requirements and what the service is about and immediately decided to apply for this.
It was very appealing because it offered me the chance to learn new skills and gain more knowledge in various aspects. For example the opportunity to work in a radio station and make my own broadcasts as well as being involved with the local community through
Before I knew it I was already in Greece without many expectations of what’s yet to come.
Looking back now I can say it truly exceeded my expectations in every way possible. I had the possibility to live together with fellow volunteers in the northern part of Greece, in Serres. Our everyday job consisted of working on monthly UN campaigns like International Day of Education, World Wildlife Day, World Refugee Day and many more. We each got one campaign per month and for this campaign we had to do different tasks: writing an article for our blog, social media posts, radio spot and broadcast, in-person/online activity and a video.
Thanks to these tasks I learned to manage my time better and be more independent and confident within my opinions and decisions. One of my other tasks was to give English classes to the refugees and locals, who were interested. At first it was challenging for me, because the way of teaching was up to us. As time went on I saw the progress my students made, which confirmed that they were picking up on new information and getting better at English. We also visited the local dog shelter to help with the damage caused by floods in the winter period and to play with the dogs.
Throughout the months and different campaigns I learned a lot more about important topics and gained more insight on what is going on in the world and what are some major difficulties we are facing. I learned how to be more mindful about my surroundings and how
to solve problems with more success. A lot of the time I noticed that I gained more knowledge in an informal way of learning. For example, in everyday conversations I broadened my horizons, but also in different workshops and activities set up by other volunteers.
We were in lockdown for the majority of our stay there, but I think it actually was good for us. Since we were limited both work-wise and leisure time, we had to be more creative with both, to have a more interactive approach. In our everyday life we were constantly seeking new adventures and things to do within our region, which led us to many hikes and drives around the area. Greece is a wonderful country full of surprises and its nature continued to surprise and amaze me. Greek people were mostly very welcoming and friendly and appreciated our efforts of trying to speak their language.
With my fellow volunteers we cooked a lot of meals together, which helped me learn more about different cultures, cuisines and recipes. I became a better team-player and became aware of all the things that I can learn from each person and from each experience and obstacle I faced. I gained a better insight on effective communication. Even though I had never lived with so many people together at once, I am very glad I had the opportunity to do so. There was never a dull moment within our group and we all completed each other well.
The dynamic was working for us.
I grew a lot as a person and am very thankful for this whole experience. Before going I wasn’t comfortable with starting conversations with strangers and taking initiative on many occasions, however after these 11 months I am more secure in myself and striking up a conversation with a stranger isn’t a problem.
I believe this volunteering experience served me well and vice versa. I would recommend volunteering abroad to anyone who is looking to grow more as an individual and to learn more in an unconventional way.
This Project was financed by European Commission’s European Solidarity Corps Programme