Why say yes to an ESC?
I have been an ESC volunteer since September. Eight months later, I am starting to write down my thoughts.
Why say yes to an ESC? Well, I give you 7 reasons to do so. It’s up to you whether you’re going to take up this challenge or not.
Get out of your comfort zone. Yes. You are in a completely new country facing a new culture. I know it’s easier to be a couch potato, but do you want to grow? Do you want to embrace new experiences? Do you want to broaden your horizons?
Learn a new language. Maybe you want to learn German, Spanish or Italian. Or you just want to learn any other new language. Choose your host country and let’s go! It’s so much easier to learn a foreign language in its country.
Improve your English. Yes, English is an international language, and you must speak it in order to make yourself understood (and also to understand the others). So, yes, you’ll learn the language of the host country, but until then, English is going to be your friend. Clearly, by practicing it, you’re going to improve your speaking skills and not only that.
Develop new skills. Throughout your project, you’re going to have different activities (some of them might be completely new to you, but this is even better because you will learn more). Depending on your tasks, you might learn how to create posters or videos, using various editing software. Or maybe you’ll learn how to solve problems more efficiently or how to think more critically. There are so many skills that you can develop or improve.
Make new friends. You’ll meet so many different people and among them, you’re going to find your friends, your lovely international friends. Obviously, some people won’t be the nicest human beings you’d expect them to be, but this is normal, so don’t worry.
Become more tolerant and open-minded. You’ll meet so many people with all kinds of backgrounds and mindsets and this is so amazing for you. In the beginning, it may seem a bit difficult, but in a short time (after you realize that what you find awkward is normal for others), you will adjust to the new environment.
Travel like a local in a foreign country. Why do I say like a local? Because a local is interested in more than the big cities (or not at all). As a foreigner, you’ve heard about the famous attractions of a country, so it’s most likely to stick to the list (travelling abroad requires time and money and, unfortunately, they don’t come together very often). But as a local, everything changes. You’re gonna be interested in that small village next to Florence (if you’re volunteering in Italy), or maybe that gorgeous natural pool - Fuente Caputa - in Mula (if you’re volunteering in Spain). Go to explore the north, the south, the east and west and don’t forget about the centre of the country. Don’t miss the chance to discover a new country and its culture.