Balkan Hotspot Media Lab – Leene Pärtel– 2 month short-term volunteering in Greece

esc volunteer greece leene pärtel vabatahtlik eestiName of the project: Balkan Hotspot Media Lab

Date: 10.10.2023 – 09.12.2023

City/Country: Thessaloniki, Greece

Hosting organization: United Societies of Balkans

As part of the Balkan Hotspot media-lab project, I volunteered in Thessaloniki, a vibrant university city, with an organisation called United Societies of Balkans. Our team consisted of ten international volunteers, and we dived into various forms of media content, such as online writing, podcasts, magazine, photography, videography, and social media, all to advocate culture and human rights. 

I was the editor of the bimonthly magazine Balkan Beats’ 48th issue “Existence – a dance of thoughts”. Since I had no prior experience working as an editor, it was an immense learning curve. My main responsibilities included managing the editorial calendar, organising meetings, proofreading, and overseeing idea development. Critical and constructive literary analysis was part of my daily job. I not only learnt how to structure my own thoughts in a logical and fluent manner, but also assisted other people in doing so when I gave feedback to their articles. I got to test my time management, literary competence, leadership, adaptability, and collaboration abilities. Recognizing that I have a natural intuition for effective leadership, I managed to establish a professional working environment that motivated other volunteers and enhanced overall productivity. 

esc volunteer greece leene pärtel vabatahtlik eestiBeyond the editorial tasks, I conducted an interview with a local artist and participated in numerous events. Being immersed in a completely different culture really fostered my sense of creativity, inspiring me to write, participate in an open mic, and polish off my photography skills. Furthermore, one noble initiative I helped to organise was a non-formal education workshop about consent and personal boundaries in relation to the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It aimed to make the participants understand their own personal boundaries and emphasise how important is clear communication.

Despite being a short-term volunteer, two months was still sufficient time to explore the surrounding areas. Weekends offered many opportunities for travelling, from hiking in Kavala and Meteora, visiting a little village called Elia in Halkidiki to exploring around Sofia, Bulgaria. 

Still, the real richness of the experience comes from the wonderful people I encountered along the way. I am certain that the connections I made will last for years to come. The shared living space was a melting pot of different cultures, and I gained so much even from small interactions with people. I left Thessaloniki with a suitcase full of memories as the city and people left a deep imprint on my heart. 

esc volunteer greece leene pärtel vabatahtlik eestiExternal Links of Blog or Description: 

Balkan Beats’ 48th issue:

Interview with a local artist:


This Project was financed by European Commission’s European Solidarity Corps Programme.