Short-term volunteering in Sweden: pros & cons
Let me introduce myself: my name is Elisa, I’m 20 and I come from France. I came to Sweden and more specifically into Globala Kronoberg as a short-term volunteer from ESC (European Solidarity Corps).
I did not expect much upon arriving here, I did not know anything about Sweden and I had no much ambition either. I was just happy that I left my hometown that I hated so much…
But discovering Växjö, biking by the lakes and through the forests, meeting with the local people and having to adjust to a completely new environment made me realize how much I missed home. Don’t get me wrong! I adore this place, it’s lovely and peaceful, and more than often I found myself reflecting on who I am and I grew as an individual a little bit more each single day. I used to be scared of the bike and now I take it with me everywhere! However, there’s nothing like a home cooked meal that you share with your family; in a place that you know by heart and that you can call “home”.
Here at Globala Kronoberg, I was not sure how I would be useful… But I was able to use my talent to the service of GOBI (youth camp Go Out Be In). I am currently working on an animated movie (which I have never done before!!) and it feels a little bit like home. It is very fulfilling to be trusted in the person I am and in my own personal skills rather than in the expectations that others have of me. I figured that I did not need to fit the mold to contribute, but that I could always find a way to pour a little bit of myself into the work that I do here, and it makes me happy.
Nonetheless, I feel sad sometimes. The growing loneliness of being in an entire different country than yours and without your friends and family is sometimes hard to handle. But at the end of the day, it pushes me to get out of my comfort zone and to discover the world on my own. At last, I’m not scared anymore, and I became more and more reckless when it came to do the things I really wanted to do.
I used to be so frightened when it came to taking the plane alone; and to be on my own in places I’ve never been before. But after a week in Sweden, I found an inner courage and strength which made me believe that I am truly capable of achieving my goals if I put my mind into it.
I would probably never book the tickets to go to a championship in Sweden if I never saw what I was able to do on my own. Now, I’m going alone to Malmö in September; and that’s so exciting!
I’ve only been here for a month, but it really opened a perspective that I’ve never envisioned before. Volunteering is not only about working in a different country, it is also about discovering what is your true potential and how much you are capable of. It is not always very easy to fit in with very different people; much less when you do not speak the same language… But in the end you’re just so proud to say “I did it!” and that is all that truly matters.
Anyway, thank you for reading this little piece of my journey here in Växjö and see you soon!
This is me:
I’m Elisa, 20 years old and I’m from Nice, France. I am short-term ESC volunteer at Globala Kronoberg in the city of Växjö in Sweden for two months from July to August 2022.