FEEDBACK DE STANI, VOLUNTARIA EN FUPAR DURANTE 5 MESES
- Where did you volunteer? (describe in a few words what city/village you lived in)
I completed my volunteering in Spain, in the city of Terrassa for approx. 30 min. by train from Barcelona.
- What all did you have to arrange before leaving?
I signed the contract, we had pre-departure training with Mladiinfo and zoom calls with the host organization, where I saw other volunteers for the first time. I bought a ticket and registered for a Catalan course and I was already on the plane.
- What was your organization like? What did she focus on, what were her main activities?
The organization in which I was a volunteer is called FUPAR. It is an organization that cares: it employs and creates interesting conditions for people, especially mentally but also physically disadvantaged people. It provides leisure activities every day, but also trips around the country and abroad.
- What was your job description? And was this job description what you expected when you applied for the project?
I was a volunteer of leisure activities. I mainly helped with sports activities, such as hockey, basketball, football. My friend and I created a Monday run and we also went on Wednesdays, for example learning to cook and playing board games on Fridays.
- What was your favorite activity at work?
I enjoyed all sports activities and probably most of all football. The team was great.
- What did volunteering give you? What skills did you acquire, what did you improve on?
First of all, I was surrounded by amazing people all the time, whom I respect. It taught me more empathy, and also that you don’t need to solve people’s problems, but instead just move on and enjoy the things that are now. More than once, looking at the participants and their family support brought tears to my eyes. Seeing them excited about scoring goals and making airplanes with their hands and running around the field with great joy taught me to rejoice in small successes. I got better at cooking vegetarian food, since I lived with 4 vegetarians, a little Spanish and learned the basics Catalan.
- What will you miss the most? What will you miss?
I already miss my friends the most, whom I already plan to visit in September, and also the people with whom I worked in the organization and played games. And least probably eating dinner very late.
- What was the biggest problem you had while volunteering and how did you deal with it?
A long distance relationship was also the biggest challenge for me. I missed my partner a lot, so at least we spent a lot of time online. We visited at least once a month, called, skyped, played online games and watched movies and tried to bond even though we were far apart.
- Did you have sufficient support and communication with the hosting, receiving and sending organization during your volunteering?
Yes, both organizations were truly amazing, I was able to communicate with them very easily, they were able to support me and give me the right kick, and I never felt alone. There are people who enjoy their work. It’s done with heart and that’s good!. Want to say THANK YOU!
- Which foods did you like the most and which, on the contrary, the least?
Ahah, I liked the chicken wings, oranges, my favorite chocolate milk Cacaolat, patatas bravas and least of all, I don’t even know, the food in Spain is absolutely great, maybe only seafood – I don’t like them very much and you can smell them in every supermarket.
- What leisure opportunities did you have in the country?
I really enjoyed traveling in my free time. We rented a car here with the girls and went to see places like Costa Brava, Girona, Tarragona, but also Andorra for a few nights. And if we didn’t rent a car, we often took the train to Barcelona, to the beach or hiked to La Mola hill. There were many programs both in the city and in the organization, as well as many discos, so there was no time to get bored.
- Did you have any prejudices against the country you were going to travel to? How do you perceive the stereotype?
I had prejudices, but I knew that a lot depends on people and I was waiting to be confirmed, but again, it is very subjective. From my experience, the Spanish people were very nice, hospitable, willing, smiling, positive people. They have time and it is difficult to make any plans with them, because they live more in the present moment.
- Would you travel to volunteer again and would you recommend volunteering to other young people in your area?
Certainly yes. Again, it is outside the comfort zone and we all really grow there.
- Do you want to further spread awareness about volunteering?
- Did you make friendships during volunteering that you still maintain?
Yes, I am most grateful for them. New deep friendships because we lived, worked and spent free time together. We are girls with a similar view of the world – we inspired and supported each other, laughed and will continue to do so. We call every week and we are supposed to meet in September in Germany. We are also planning to visit Terrassa this year.
- What would you say to people who are afraid to volunteer?
Just that it’s silly to be afraid, and if you feel you want to contribute something to society, just go. Is natural to be afraid but is not suppose to stop you to shine. It will give you more than you expected.