I'm Milena, I come from the south of Italy and on the 13th of March I started my experience in the International Permanent Secretariat Euroregion Baltic, in Elblag, Poland, thanks to an IVY project.
Euroregion Baltic is a cross-border organization among the south-east of the Baltic Sea region, consisting of eight regions of Denmark, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Sweden.
(in the photo: Baltic Sea Reagion)
In particular I'm involved in two projects, Interconnect and Casypot. The first one is about transports among all the Baltic regions, while the Casypot project is related to young people. Casypot is financied by the Interreg South Baltic Program and its main goal is to improve cross-border cooperation through creating joint knowledge-based strategic youth policy.
My tasks are mainly related to the communication, promotion and dissemination of information, through social media and website. Thanks to my background in the graphic field, I can use my skills to develop some graphic projects, and at the same time I can learn some new tools related to communication. Right now I'm working on the graphics for the Youth Camp which will be held from the 8th to the 11th of June, in which I will also take part.
But, of course, this is not all. I take part also in conferences and INTERREG meeting between partners and other young people interested and involved in the field of cooperation, and I am actively parecipating in writing the new mission, vision and goals for the new EuroregionBaltic Youth Board.
But now I want to tell you what an IVY volunteering experience really is. Before to start my experience here, I knew almost nothing about cooperation among regions. I have had other experiences in the frame of the Erasmus+ program, for exemple a long term EVS, but an IVY project is something different. The biggest difference I have found is that from the beginning I was aware of the strong cooperation between regions, you can feel it, you can see it around you; even if I am in Poland, ERB is an international organization, with international partners and international staff. Thais means that you are in contact with different cultures, that is the 1st step to understanding an INTERREG cooperation.
In ERB we are always travelling: to make the cooperation working well, it is necessary to meet the partners, to discuss new ideas and design the future of the regions all together.
(In the pic: on my left Ms Agata Ludwiczak, Deputy Head of ERB International Permanent Secretariat, on my right Ms Magda Leszczyna-Rzucidło Head of the ERB International Permanent Secretariat)
ERB has several projects in the Baltic area, with different topics: so I meet always new people with different backgrounds. I have not only discovered more about interreg cooperation, but also about youth strategy, sustainable enery, new transport systems; and all this has opened my horizons.
Doing an IVY volunteering experience mean also that you will live far from home: you will miss your friends and family at the beginning, change your habits won't be easy, but then you will start to undertand the new culture (I can not really say the new language, because after only one month Polish language is still a big challenge for me), to find new friends and at the end of your experience you will be more open minded, you will have improved your soft skills, and also you will get some professional experiences. Surely you will grow up a lot.
This is my first impression after almost 2 months as IVY volunteer in Euroregion Baltic. This month we are travelling to Sweden and Lithuania to meet our partners and strengthen the interreg cooperation.
I will give you more news soon!