My experience with SCI Austria

The project took place in:


Long term volunteering

Written by Louis from France

March 2023

From March to October 2022, I did a Service Civique within the SCI Austria in Vienna.

During these few months, I had the pleasure to work with Mirna and Andrea who keep SCI Austria operating throughout the year.
I worked as a Placement Officer, my activities consisted of registering and selecting volunteers wishing to participate in work camps in Austria or elsewhere and assisting Mirna and Andrea in their tasks.
I took part in seminars, youth exchanges and workcamps organized by SCI Austria or in which SCI Austria was a partner.

The first project I got engaged with was a seminar co-organized with SCI Germany on green mobility in March in Innsbruck, Tyrol, immediately after my arrival in Vienna. There, I could see the Alps.
Then, I took part in a Living Library at the Citta dell’Utopia in Rome, Italy, in May, co-organized with the cultural association EduRaduno and Laboratorio 53, without doubt my favorite experience during this Service Civique.

The Living Library was a kind of exhibition where people tell about an aspect of their life or an experience that they liked to share, on themes as varied as travel, art or discriminations. I also visited Rome and ate a lot of ice cream.
This experience was followed by an antimilitarist project co-organized by GAIA Kosovo and SCI Austria, facilitated by Thomas Schallhart in Mitrovica, Kosovo, in which activists shared antimilitarist methods. The second part of this antimilitarist project was held in August in Austria, where I, together with other participants from countries involved in military service, have discussed on how to stand against military conscription. This allowed me to get involved in one of the causes long championed by SCI Austria: anti-militarism, brought up to date in SCI with the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

I also took part in three of the four SCI Austria volunteering camps: I have supported the renovation of office community in Vienna whose part is also SCI Austria. The community is composed of NGOs and associations that pursue solidarity actions and critical approaches to promote systemic change and address social challenges.,Secondly, I have attended a campto help in gardening and support maintaining one school in Lower Austria. .Finally in September I participated in the Green Belt Camp to preserve the biodiversity of the diverse natural and cultural landscape at the Austrian-Czech border, along the European Green Belt(natural area crossing Europe, corresponding to the former iron curtain of the Cold War).

The six months of my service have allowed me to meet people from Croatia, Italy, Kosovo, Albania, Turkey, Greece, Spain, the Czech Republic, Serbia, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland, Cyprus, Finland, Afghanistan, Hungary and sometimes Austrians.
I have also to improved and developed both in terms of know-how and interpersonal skills and experience many firsts.

During my voluntary service I was able to learn new things and to contribute to building peace and maintaining the ecosystem through all the events in which I took part. It was finally a time that was rich in colorful post-its, in how to know each other activities, in kilometers traveled by bike, by bus, by train and by plane.

Ultimately, I recommend anyone to take part in projects with the International Civil Service and its Austrian branch, no matter how long or short!