My experience in SCI and the north of France

The project took place in:


Long term volunteering

Written by Paula Vidal from Spain, Madrid

December 2023

Hi, I’m Paula and I’m here to share with you my experience as a volunteer at SCI. Well, let’s start from the beginning… I’m a 28 year old Spanish girl (from Valencia, where the paella is) who went to Lille to finish her master in migration and after 4 months living there, I didn’t want to give up the landscapes of the north of France (and the good weather…). So I was looking for a way to come back, and tada! SCI France gave me the opportunity to do an ESC with them for 6 months.. And voilà, here I am again, surrounded by frites, good beer and of course, good weather.

Field with trees

Besides all the wonders of Lille, my life in the SCI is also going very happily. My job within the association is to lend a hand with whatever I can: the more hands the better. On one side we have the more international part where we take care of the organisation of short and long term voluntary work for young people who want to live this experience. Here we find a bit of office work: drawing up contracts, sending documents, communicating with the host organisations… and well, everything that has to do with the correct development of the missions. In addition, we also have close contact with the volunteers.

We carry out previous trainings in which we discuss topics such as conflict resolution, interculturality, the meaning of volunteering, etc; we follow up once they have started volunteering, we exchange emails, whatsapps and whatever is needed to solve all the unexpected events that pop up (which are not few). Furthermore, last month, I had the opportunity to go to Switzerland for a week together with colleagues from 11 other countries, in the framework of a training organised by SCI Switzerland, where I could learn a bit more about the functioning of SCI; how to do workshops and the concept of peace. But we don’t only do this, we also have a more local side, in which we focus on carrying out actions with the inhabitants and other associations in the neighbourhood, with the aim of creating links and a solid associative network that provides different services to all the neighbours.

Paula sitting on a desk, working

Our star action is our Guinguette de la Paix, in which around food and gastronomy we create different workshops and multicultural meetings with associations and neighbours from different parts of the world. In addition to these meetings, we also carry out other actions such as cinema-debates or organic markets. And it doesn’t end here, we are always present in other actions in the neighbourhood or in the city to promote international mobility, the values of the SCI, to promote the association and to participate in the life of the community. And in all this, I help as best I can. Doing a bit of everything, because as you know, you have to know how to be polyvalent.

Honestly, I can’t be more grateful for the opportunity that SCI France has given me, for how well they have treated me from the first day and how warmly I have felt welcomed. Elie, Nathalie and Emilie: thank you.

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