Being a volunteer at 25 years old.

– Meggy Travairs

The process to become a volunteer at 25 years old has been a journey. As all the future volunteers are coming, the first step has been to apply to divers’ missions that correspond to what I was looking for. In my case, I was not searching for a specific country to go but more for a project where I can put my knowledge. Fun fact: I ended up in an ESC that regrouped all the things I was avoiding in a workplace. I will tell you additional information about this later. 

First interview. First challenge. First wall. 

My first online meeting with a welcoming organization went pretty well. The mission was to be an art assistant manager. I was really into this project as my dream job is to be an art administrator for events such as festivals. At the end of the interview, I was confident. The reality came back quicker than we thought. Over all the candidates, I was second on the list. Great will you say? Here is the fact: I was not the first one and I didn’t get selected. I had already had experience in the area as I have a degree in art administration and management, the other person didn’t. A big wall appeared in front of me: I have experiences and ESC is about giving opportunities to youth who don’t but wish to learn. Today, I am more than happy that this other person has been selected. This project will help them to discover a new field and I hope they will still have the passion until the end. 

After this one, I passed other interviews and always the same thing. Once, I didn’t even get a message following the online meeting. Furthermore, because of this “experiences” dilemma, I don’t have a lot of expectations and I was not looking to specifically learn a new language. My goal was just to help the community/society as much as I can with what I have in my possession. Leaving aboard is not a big challenge as I had the chance to study in 2 other countries before arriving in Sweden. All of this became the main reasons why I couldn’t find a project for myself. 

For a moment, I stopped applying on the ESC platform. One day, I looked again on the website and started to realize that some organizations were actually looking for volunteers between 25 and 30 years old. Most of the time, the projects were related to something specific like working in youth centers where the public can have a heavy background. These places need people that have a strong mindset and that are a little bit older as it can be difficult to integrate while being younger than the person you are working with. I understand that this ESC opportunity is for me the way to work on a field that I don’t know and challenge myself on things I will probably never have thought of before. Today, after a month being in Växjö, I can affirm that it is the truth. From then, I started to look for projects which were looking for someone quite independent but still willing to learn things. 

Funkibator project appears.

Here I am with Funkibator’s project. A logistic and administration mission that goes over what I supposed during the interview. As my mom said “Why this project? It’s all the things you hate to do in life”. I didn’t realize it until recently. Driving? With a trailer? No way. Gardening? Ok, why not. Overseeing the home’s technologies? Nah. Over my dead body, I don’t know why I chose this ESC mission. Now that I think about it, opposites attract each other, right? In another post, I might tell you in detail what are my tasks at SIP house (precisely under Funkibator). Anyway, here I am, in a country I never thought about before, in a city I didn’t know existed. Nowadays, I really enjoy what I’m doing, and I surprise myself by going out of my comfort zone. Everyday is a big challenge as I need to keep my self-control and learn to appreciate things I was afraid of before (like staying with 10 dogs alone, in a room? Probably one of the biggest trials I had in my short life). Fortunately, I have the other volunteers (almost a second family at this point) to listen to me when I am frustrated, tired, or happy about something. 

Recently, all this little family had the chance to go to Stockholm. There, we met youths who are also going to be here for a year. I talked with 2 girls that are between 25 and 30 years old. It appears that we have almost the same experience in terms of ESC applications. We had the feeling that this opportunity was uniquely given to youngsters who don’t have experiences, don’t know what they are going to do after, people who are a little bit lost, etc. In fact, ESC IS FOR EVERYONE. As the Swedish say: LAGOM. Just take time to look around, it can take days, months, or even a year! Only time will tell but I am sure that you will find something that perfectly fits your inner self. 

Here is the end of my story. I hope it can help some of you to find their perfect project and to persevere. You can do it! 

If you have questions about ESC or anything else, feel free to contact our Globala volunteers Gaia and Marie on social media. They will be more than happy to help you! For my part, I might share with you later another story. Let’s see what Sweden and the Funkibator project will teach me.