A Brief Blueprint Part 2 - ESC benefits and system
What is ESC?
The European Solidarity Corps (ESC) is a cultural exchange program targeting young people aged 18-30, funded by the European Commission. It is a multifaceted and comprehensive initiative, emphasising principles such as solidarity, mutual assistance, and cultural interaction. ESC offers volunteer opportunities mainly in non-profit organisations, both short-term and long-term, ranging from a few weeks to a maximum of 1 year, across various fields and topics.
Who Can Apply?
The criteria for becoming an ESC volunteer are, in my opinion, quite reasonable. While it may vary from project to project, you could be responsible for teaching English to children aged 6-12 or preparing creative activities for young people aged 15-18 in a youth organisation. For such projects, having a reasonable proficiency in English, an openness to both learning and teaching, and the ability to engage in interesting social interactions may be sufficient, without requiring highly technical skills. However, some projects may require more technical expertise (such as being responsible for photography and video shooting in a cinema and music group and editing them). Nevertheless, they do not demand years of experience or complete mastery in a field or program, unlike in a professional setting. This offers a fantastic opportunity, especially to gain experience in your field of interest.
The project duration is divided into short-term and long-term. Short-term projects can last from 2 weeks to 2 months, while long-term projects last from 2 to 12 months. The choice of a project duration is entirely up to you, but I want to add a note here. If you choose to participate in a long-term project once, you cannot participate in a short-term project for the 2nd time. However, after volunteering in a short-term project, you can apply for long-term projects later. I personally opted to use my opportunity directly with a long-term project for 12 months in total because adapting to a new country, at least to learn where things are and a system of work can take a few months. If one of your aims is to make friends and adapt to a new culture, in my opinion, the long-term projects provide you more space to do so. Of course, if you don't have a whole year to dedicate to volunteering like me, you can choose short-term projects and apply for long-term projects in the future when you have the time.
Text a foto: Emre Ozdemir
Emre je dobrovoľník programu Európsky zbor solidarity na projekte v organizácii Bratislavské dobrovoľnícke centrum. Projekt bol podporený z projektu EÚ Európsky zbor solidarity.