A Brief Blueprint Part 2 - ESC benefits and system
You've made your decision. Let's say you want to be involved in a youth project at a local organisation in a small town in Italy. After submitting your CV and motivation letter to the relevant organisation and receiving acceptance after an interview, the first thing you will need is a sending organisation. Simply put, this is a system that represents and supports you in official paperwork and processes you will need during your volunteer period before you go to another country. Basically, there is a sending organisation and a hosting organisation. If the country you want to go to requires a visa or different documents from you, your sending organisation will be with you in all the necessary procedures to ensure that your project starts on time. They will also provide all the support you need during and after your volunteer period related to your project.
Working Hours, Leave Days, and Rights
We've come to the best part. One of the best rights offered to ESC volunteers is flexible volunteering hours and leave days especially in my organisation. An ESC volunteer is required to “work” usually 6 hours a day (5 days a week). Additionally, you have weekends and special holiday breaks. On top of that, you can take 2 days off per month. So, in practice, you work a maximum of 18 days in a month, and you can use the remaining 12 days as you wish. You can even accumulate your leave days and use them collectively at a later date by agreeing with your hosting organisation. In some projects, although rare, you may need to work on weekends at certain hours, but no need to panic! You can compensate for these days by taking leave later.
I am staying in a part of Bratislava called Petrazalka. It is a quiet, peaceful location, and quite close to the office where I work. If you are volunteering on an ESC project, your accommodation may vary depending on your project. I share a room with a volunteer from Spain, but another volunteer I met during On-Arrival Training was staying in a detached house in a more isolated town in Slovakia because they were involved in a nature conservation project. You can also be accommodated in a dormitory. As long as you keep the house clean and do not disturb the neighbours, you can create a great living space for yourself. We, the other volunteers, should establish cleaning schedules and rules among ourselves. I can say that I only sleep and have breakfast at home because I am usually out.
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.