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Becoming a European Solidarity Corps (ESC) volunteer has always been something that I’ve wanted to do in order to help me gain more knowledge on various interesting topics that one does not get introduced to if they decide to stay at home and do their regular job. When applying for the Youth Empowerment Programme at Sculpt, I wanted to benefit from the last few months yet left to participate in the ESC programme in the UK. Brexit has not been kind to us, though! As European volunteers, who before were able to freely travel to the UK without a visa, we now require a permit to be able to volunteer in the country as part of the programme. Applying for the visa was a very interesting experience in itself, as I’ve never had to apply for one before. I had to endure the burden of waiting whilst feeling excited about having the visa application approved. As a result, I started learning new things even before the placement had begun!

Prior to joining the Sculpt team, I worked with the General Inspectorate for Immigration in Romania. We collaborate with many social action-oriented organisations and associations to help refugees accommodate and adapt to their new home in Romania. There, I’ve learned to appreciate the small impact of simple deeds in the social sector.

At Sculpt, we are involved in various kinds of projects concerning young people and women that aim to make a difference in the long run.

One thing I like about the team is their communication. As communication is a key factor to any successful team work, we try to catch up regularly through weekly online meetings, one to one and face to face supervision meetings to ensure that no bits of details get lost in the hustle of blended working modes. To me, things seem efficiently structured and this, in turn, helps increase productivity at the workplace.

In addition to the youth-oriented projects they have, Sculpt also has a wide variety of free learning resources and online learning platforms to which we have also been granted access. The skills that you can learn from the training platforms and resources vary from entrepreneurship, business planning, linguistic skills to sustainability and fundraising. These allow me to use any free time available in nourishing myself with valuable knowledge and skills that will last and be used forever.

Finally, let me not forget to mention that in addition to experiencing the at-the-office environment, we also get to enjoy London and discover interesting places around the city thanks to our awesome mentors and their generous recommendations. Unexpectedly and unlike the common stereotypes of Londoners being rigid and cold, it is worth mentioning that my first-hand experience suggests otherwise. So far, I have only met welcoming and polite people who are willing to help and assist. I very much look forward to exploring the city hand in hand with its culture. This ESC placement is one of the last ones of its kind for Europeans due to the challenging situation of Brexit; and for that reason, we should make the most of it and enjoy the exchange of cultural and professional experiences!