I was supposed to spend these two months somewhere else but within one day everything changed and I ended up in Joannina. And I couldn’t end up better.
The story of this ESC starts when I had to back out of my planned internship in the Czech Republic because I was unable to find any affordable accommodation. I also had another internship planned for November and a nightmarish job at that time. I had two options: I could either stay in that job for another two months or find something instead. Guess what came to my mind.
When I recalled that I could do a short-term voluntary service, I immediately checked where I could go. I didn’t think much, I just didn’t want to waste next two months in a pointless job. I searched the ESC web page and wrote a post on one of the Facebook groups being pretty sure I wouldn’t find anything at the last minute. I had only that two months when I could go somewhere and couldn’t change the dates much but surprisingly I found many offers. I selected three projects. Greece won based on very good vibes during the interview with Dora and the fact that I had already been to Greece a year before and had very good memories from that time.
I am this kind of person who jumps into new things recklessly, without much consideration and then freaks out that I all will go wrong. It wasn’t different this time and I got afraid that I might end up in a place that I wouldn’t like in the end. So I went to the airport in early September all stressed out. Unnecessarily.
I seriously couldn’t find a better place.
We worked in a refugee camp with kids from 5 to 12 years old and later also with kids from 1 to 4. We provided them with informal education by crafts, playing outdoor games or teaching simple rules. For me this experience was particularly challenging because I’d never felt comfortable with kids but thought I could make it for two months. Now I miss those kiddies! I wonder how long I will hear “teacher!” in my head 😀
But my two months in Joannina was not only the camp. I made friends, I ate out a lot, I visited another part of Greece, I learned a lot about myself, I made important decisions, I struggled and won a couple of times, I made memories. Time passed so fast but two months were enough to keep Joannina in my heart forever. But the most important part of this adventure were people I met on my way: my flatmates, other volunteers of the project and of Agia Eleni, the team, volunteers and friends of the Youth Centre with special place for Dora, the best coordinator! You guys made this time so special and unforgettable.
I made this choice based on the chain of haphazard events and couldn’t be more happy about the result. Thank you Joannina! Hope to see you soon.
Monika was a volnteer in the short-term project: “Impact on local community of Ioannina” run by Youth Center of Epirus / AMKE and funded by the European Solidarity Corps of the European Union.