Between 02nd and 10th December I participated in the job shadowing project ME+NTOR in Athens, Greece. The mobility was hosted by Hellenic Youth Participation (HYP). I consider it a very enriching experience, both on a personal and professional level.
I can say that my experience was like a mini-EVS. I say this because of the following reasons: I had to live by myself on a short budget, I discovered on my own a big European city and connected with the locals, I participated together with the EVS volunteers of HYP in their activities with Roma children, refugees and immigrants, I participated in a Greek language course, I learned some basic Greek words and the alphabet. Of course, besides all this I found out some interesting facts about the mentors of HYP, their experiences and methods used with the volunteers.
I also have to mention that my hobby is running and, on a personal level, I enjoyed the great experience I had with the Adidas Athens running team – I meet them in the street and they invited me to join them, it was so nice.
I discovered that the mentors of HYP are all young and close to the ages of their volunteers, they have friendly relationships with their volunteers and they meet every week. A very important tool that I learned about is the daily diary that the volunteers fill in and that can be read by the mentors also. This is a good way to learn about the volunteers` state of spirit and to start the discussions together. I also found out that in the beginning of the EVS, there is a big party organized for the volunteers and mentors and I think it is very nice.
The activities that I mostly enjoyed were the ones in which I accompanied the volunteers in their activities with Roma children and with refugees and immigrants.
The session with Roma kids was a bit challenging because of the language barriers, but I managed to overcome this, we colored together, we played puzzle games and a few other games. We did all this while their parents participated in a sexual awareness workshop.
Another day I took part in the activities with immigrants and refugees. I loved the fact that they were all so attentive to learn something, although the new ones didn`t even know the alphabet. The volunteers divided them in three groups – beginners, medium level and advanced. I was amazed how everybody wanted to help and a few even helped to teach the alphabet by writing the pronunciation of the letters in Arabic. I helped with the medium level group by teaching them names of clothes and shoes and verbs connected with them. It was such a nice experience for me. I listened to some stories in the end and took pictures together.
The staff of HYP, especially Nefeli, the EVS coordinator, were all very welcoming and proved to be good organizers. She even picked me up at the airport and also gave me an insight of her work in HYP by showing me the applications that they use and allowing me to participate in all their activities. I liked how they organized the International Volunteering day by inviting locals to volunteer together with the EVS volunteers. And I liked their HYP festival with activities for locals and exhibitions.
All in all it was an awesome experience and I am grateful to have participated in it.