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I am curious, determined and I am not afraid to take risks. This combined with an amazing programme like the European Solidarity Corps (ESC) and a great organisation like IARS, brought me to the UK in the middle of a global pandemic. At the end of July 2020, I took over an exciting journey and came to volunteer to the UK at IARS.

Being a volunteer has taught me so much and my confidence has grown. I am grateful to have had the chance to provide a service to the benefit of IARS and the local community, but also to develop my own personal, social and professional skills.

My experience has been fantastic. Everyone at IARS has been so welcoming and friendly. I am grateful for the opportunity to have met so many inspiring people. I have learned more about the charity sector, social entrepreneurship, gender-based violence, and child protection, by doing research, writing articles, participating in meetings, attending trainings, learning about project management, attending focus groups and interviewing founders and changemakers.

I have been collaborating with an amazing team, and I have learnt the importance of communication, organisation and time-management. At the same time, having the freedom and ownership to explore and discover my capabilities has been wonderful.

Participation in the European Solidarity Corps was free of charge and I could access a range of support services such as online linguistic support and training. Moreover, IARS offered me the support and guidance I needed – mentoring and supervision sessions, team meetings. I was encouraged to use my own ideas, creativity and experience to develop my own activities related to the work of IARS. I really encourage young people to take the opportunity offered by the European Solidarity Corps programme.

Volunteering at IARS was a fantastic opportunity to learn and give something back, but also provided me with a career path.  I have learned more about NGOs and the charity sector, and I  also know that I’d love to be part of it, to make a real change in society.

I am so grateful that the European Solidarity Corps exists and encouraged me to become a volunteer. I will continue to volunteer; there is no substitute for real world experience and for a future career or personal growth.

Writen by

Madalina Merlusca