Meet our new European Solidarity Corps volunteer!- Senka

Long term volunteering

Written by Senka from Serbia

May 2022

Meet our new ESC volunteer, Senka!

Senka joins our office team from Serbia. She will be volunteering with the team in our Dublin office for two months. The VSI staff welcomes Senka and are excited to work with her. Read on to learn about Senka’s time in Ireland and with VSI so far!

Senka standing in front of a buildingMy name is Senka, and I’m coming from Novi Sad, Serbia. After two weeks of volunteering online in March last year, at the start of May, I came to Dublin, Ireland. Even though it has only started, my ESC has already been a life-changing experience. Since arriving in Dublin my perspective on life itself has changed drastically. Life here in Ireland is very different than what I’m used to. The people are friendly, the food incredible, and the scenery breathtaking, Ireland is still one of the most developed countries in Europe, especially when we talk about human rights, particularly the rights of people with disabilities. It is true that if you are with the right people you can be happy and flourish, but it is easier when you have a developed social care system. This is how I have felt since I was introduced to the people of VSI, my host organisation. With VSI you will always be made feel welcome and will be supported in whatever you choose to do. You will be encouraged to come up with and introduce new ideas into the marketing and social media team, giving you the opportunity to let your creativity shine.

People, in general, are delighted to meet someone from outside Ireland and will often be interested to hear stories about your life at home and tell you some interesting facts about their country. In this way, you will also contribute to fostering tolerance and respect for other cultures and to removing stereotypes. As a person with a physical disability, I felt very welcome. Equality and involvement of persons with disabilities in all societal areas is much more developed here in Ireland, so I had an amazing opportunity to learn about good practices and examples.

Senka in a wheelchair in front of a nice buildingAs with any move to a new country, you should be prepared for culture (and temperature) shock! You will have constant support from VSI but some aspects of the culture can be especially challenging. Irish English accent is a bit different and you will need time and patience to get use to it. Also, the Irish language still remains important in society, which is very interesting to me as a French language teacher. Of course, many aspects of Irish culture are also very admirable. When it comes to hospitality and parties, Irish culture is very similar to Serbian.

I am only a short way into my ESC volunteer opportunity, but can already say that it has been one of the best decisions I have made. To be able to spend two months contributing to such a cause is incredible. I still cannot believe that such an opportunity exists and yet here I am. I have learned so much about myself and the world since I arrived in Ireland and already have so many happy memories. I don’t doubt for a second that the best is yet to come and I cannot wait to learn more about this incredible country and its people.

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