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How can you prepare for ESC project?

Welcome back, here is Dino again! In this article I will give you a deeper understanding of what happens if you will be chosen for an interview after your application process on the ESC’s platform. Thus, I will also tell you how my selection process for Amazonas was and how I prepared for Croatia.

My Experience with Amazonas 

When I applied for Amazonas, they contacted me after a couple of days telling me that my motivational letter was interesting and that they would be happy to interview me via a video call. Therefore, take your time to write a good motivational letter! 

How Can I Prepare for My Interview? 

If you succeed in arriving at the interview, don’t panic! That’s the right moment to gain as much information as you need. Most of the time the receiving organisations will arrange a relaxed interview giving you all the necessary time to talk about your skills and motivations. 

Indeed, when I did my interview with Blaž and Vjeko, they were really nice, and they gave me enough time to present myself, tell them why I want to join them, and ask the necessary questions. 

Therefore, be relaxed and don’t hesitate to bring up your skills and abilities. Determination is paramount! 

After the interview, you will receive a further email where you will know if you have been selected as a volunteer or not. If accepted, you will have to communicate to the receiving association if you are willing or not to start the project. 

After Being Selected as a New Volunteer: What Happens? 

Congratulations! If you have been chosen for an ESC project, prepare yourself to join this new experience. And if you are wondering if you will be alone or not during the period that precedes the start of the project, don’t worry! You will be put immediately in touch with your supporting organisation, which will support you before, during, and after the project. 

The crucial responsibility of the supporting organisation is to give you the necessary preparation for your volunteering activity and keep in touch with you during the entire period of your stay in the receiving organisation. The sending organisation’s responsibility is to be accessible to you when you need something. Therefore, the supporting organisation will be a sort of guardian angel for you!

Anyways, the supporting organisation will contact you immediately after you have accepted to join your ESC project, and they will arrange a first meeting (online or in presence). There, you will gain further information regarding the ESC agreement to sign — which will give you the right to start the project — and your health insurance.

In addition, the supporting organisation will send you the ESC’s Info Kit, which contains useful information regarding the ESC and both duties and responsibilities of the volunteer.

Getting Ready To Start Your ESC Project 

Once you have finished the preparations with your supporting organisation (you also can get pre-departure preparation on the European Youth Portal) you will be ready to leave abroad and start your new experience!

Remember, the supporting organisation will ask you to track all the activities that you will carry out during your stay, and they will request monthly some feedback from you about the project, accommodation, and experience.

In addition, you will also get a mentor which will contact you before your departure. The mentor’s role consists in helping you to get used to the new environment and to assist you in case of need, alongside the receiving organisation. Usually, the mentor is almost your same age, to ensure that you form a peer-to-peer bond.

Keep in mind that the process that I am telling you here is mostly related to abroad ESC’s projects, but it is quite similar to the one held in your own country of residence.

Do I Get Paid for Joining an ESC’s Project?

As volunteers, you will not receive a wage, but will, on the other hand, get refunded for travelling to the place where the project is held, get free accommodation (bills included), and health insurance coverage for all the duration of the activity. In addition, the costs of food are covered, and you will also receive a small allowance for personal expenses.

What Will I Find When I Arrive at My Destination?

It will depend on the receiving organisation, but normally that you will have to join the on-arrival training, which aims to introduce you and the other volunteers to the host country and prepare you for the service period. This time will serve you to tackle your cultural and personal challenges, allowing you to know the other volunteers and to build a network.

You will also join mid-term evaluations, which will assess your experience so far and encourage you to reflect on the activities, role, and support of the receiving organisation and on your own contribution. The mid-term evaluation is essential for risk prevention and crisis management, and it facilitates conflict resolution, if necessary! In addition, you will also share your experience and increase your motivation.

What Happened When I Joined My ESC Project? 

I can tell you that, when I arrived, Amazonas had the thoughtfulness to send Blaž to pick me up and bring me to my flat. Indeed, they were always in touch with me even before my arrival, providing me with any sort of help to organise my departure. 

Further, the next day I was introduced to the other members of Amazonas, who were very kind and brought me to have a coffee with them. And I also met my mentor Iris, who was also kind in meeting me immediately. 

European Solidarity Corps: An Opportunity To Grow

What can I say after this description of the ESC? I can just tell you that I am really grateful to the EU and Amazonas for giving me this great opportunity! I met a lot of people which are enriching my personal attitudes and skills, especially those communication and soft skills in which I am lacking. 

I am also happy about the fact that I have the opportunity to be in touch with children and young people and be useful to them.

A Place To Develop Your Skills 

But, for me, the most important part of the ESC project is the possibility to implement my own activities within my organisation. Indeed, Amazonas and its team were immediately available to encourage my own creativity and hear my proposals. 

I think that this proactive attitude of Amazonas is paramount for every volunteer because it gives to the youth the possibility to challenge themselves and to put into use their knowledge and experiences! 

In particular, Amazonas is for me the perfect environment where I can put into force my capabilities and assets because its activities are directed towards social issues: building an inclusive and solidary society, supporting EU values, and helping out young people like me. 

I really appreciate the fact that their main tool that Amazonas uses to address these topics is sport, and especially capoeira. Indeed, thanks to the association’s psychologist, I discovered that capoeira is a great tool to work with children with special needs. It gives the children the opportunity to express themselves and pour things out, but with discipline. 

European Solidarity Corps: Are You Ready To Join? 

So far, I am glad to have joined Amazonas and the European Solidarity Corps. Actually, I think that taking part in an ESC project could be a significant achievement for any young person. It will be a useful asset for you when applying for a job and it will help you also for applying for higher education. 

Remember, the ESC could be an opportunity for you to engage in a meaningful activity which could be extremely useful for your future employment! 

As well as being useful for your future career prospects, after your volunteering period you will receive a package of other benefits, which will vary depending on the type of project that you undertake. 

After participating in a project, you will be entitled to receive a certificate that documents your participation: the Youthpass. It will sum up all the experiences that you gained during your stay, and you could use it when applying for jobs or further learning. 

In conclusion, do not hesitate to join this great opportunity! And remember: Play. Learn. Evolve.