Hi to everyone in our big IVY family!
The time has come for me to finally write my first blog post. But firstly, let me introduce myself. My name is Veronika and I am currently volunteering as an Interreg Reporter in Bratislava, Slovakia (Interreg V-A SK-CZ /Interreg V-A SK-AT). As I’ve just reached the middle of my volunteering period, I think I’ve gathered enough material and experiences to share with you on this blog.
I am (as far as I know) one of the few volunteers who got the chance to volunteer in their home country and didn't have to travel XY kilometres away into the distant unknown lands (which is a bit ironic cause one of the main reasons I signed up for ESC was to embark on an adventure abroad). Nevertheless, I would say I still get to enjoy some similar experiences as I am not a Bratislava local so there are still plenty of things for me to explore. For instance, my current volunteering location is in a part of the city that I have never been to before, so I can definitely say I’ve discovered something new thanks to this IVY experience ☺ (from the point of view of traveling of course not like "work" related, just to make things clear, ok?☺)
I’ve also been lucky enough to be asked to join my colleagues at the seminars for beneficiaries that took place in the Czech Republic. After they finished their official part of the presentation they handed things over to me to say a few words about publicity and my role as an Interreg Reporter. This was a perfect opportunity to get into personal contact with main project partners and exchange contacts to pursue further cooperation and set the dates for our interviews.
The first one I went to was in Brno, Czech Republic. It is a beautiful historical city and the building of the Regional Authority itself was a work of art. At least for my taste. (No, it’s not the one in the picture below. I shall keep it a mystery from you guys.)
The second one was in Ostrava which took a bit longer of a journey to get to. But hey finally some proper IVY traveling experience, right?! (Although this time the beautiful historical premises were exchanged for a bit more modern mazelike building with such luxuries as air conditioning which, let me tell you, with this current situation in Europe where we skipped spring and went from winter directly into summer is a huuuuuge benefit). And just in case you got the impression that I cared more about the architecture rather than carrying out my actual duties here’s the proof that one can do both :D
This way of reaching the project partners proved to be a good strategy. Currently I am in the process of setting dates with project partners for our interviews and soon I’ll be traveling to the project locations. This first half of my volunteering period was more focused on the cross-border cooperation with the Czech Republic but in the next one I should start focusing on the Austrian projects as well.
I find it very fascinating that as a young European I can take a sneak peek into the inner workings of such institutions as my hosting organisation (the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of SR) thanks to the initiatives such as ESC or EVS. Within the first weeks of my placement I’ve learned a lot of new information about the EU cohesion policies and the cross-border cooperation itself. It’s very helpful to see the impact and support of EU funded projects directly in the local communities. It is especially helpful for someone like me who studied Interpreting and Translation and was considering taking the career path of a language job within the EU institutions. It’s always beneficial to get to know the procedures of how things work to get a clearer idea.
Not gonna lie, at the beginning the amount of new information seemed a bit overwhelming. (dramatic reenactment on the photo below)
But as with everything in life when you give it some time, you get more used to the new environment, new colleagues, new daily routines, it all gets better. Especially, when you finally get to see the result of your engagement and actually see the improvement of your skills. And after having experienced mostly freelancing jobs in my (rather short) career life, it feels nice to have your ‘’own’’ desk place where you can peacefully enjoy your morning coffee, for a change.
Our team also couldn’t miss out on the Europe Day celebrations that took place on the 9th of May. Although the weather forecast showed rain this event was blessed with beautiful sunny weather and a cloudless sky which led to much bigger number of visitors compared to previous years.
My task was to prepare games and quizzes for the visitors of our stand. Thanks to my previous EVS experience in Europe Direct Info Centre I had already gained some „expertise“(if I may say so myself) in the creation of blind maps, EU related quizzes and such☺ A nice example of how the experience gained during one volunteering project can later on be very helpful during another one.
Sorry for the lengthy post. Shout out to those who made it this far!
See you at my next post. And till then I shall go back to the ‘’silent reader of your IVY experiences’’ mode.
Keep blogging, keep enjoying IVY! :D (can't help but send greetings esp. to my fellow countrywoman and language enthusiast Border(less) Monika)