Lila’s experience

I am happy that thanks to this project, as a young person I have a chance to get out of the ´adult working cycle` and experience one great adventure. 

— Lila

Hello all! My name is Lila, and I am coming from Slovakia. For one month I have been doing my voluntary project which is part of Globers program in a small town on the east of Belgium called Eupen. My project is based in an asylum center of Red Cross. There are living people who applied for asylum in Belgium and who are waiting for the decision on international protection being granted or not. In our center there are 100 people living, ranging from small children with their parents, or just their mothers, unaccompanied minors (in the age of teenagers), to adult single men. 

I will not lie, the first two weeks of my volunteering were harsh; unknown city, other culture, new work environment, establishing of new contacts, weak knowledge of local language and all that complicated by then culminating omicron COVID wave…But let´s move forward on the timeline, because all these feelings of anxiety from new disappeared quickly and the enthusiasm appeared! 😊

I have learnt here to appreciate even the smallest signs of the sunny weather, because most of the days are grey and rainy so far. Still, it is possible to get used to it. The town Eupen is small, but despite that there are a lot of possibilities of spending of leisure time. I would especially highlight the closeness to the nature, where you can enjoy walking or riding a bike. A part of that there are few cute bakeries where you can have your coffee and in the shelves of supermarkets there is the world best chocolate waiting for you! In a short time of train/bus ride, you can get to bigger cities like Liège, Maastricht in the Netherlands or Aachen in Germany. 

In relation to work in the asylum center, I could have not chosen better! It is a very lively environment, where you must get used for a constant noise, chaos and occasional conflict situations. But at the same time, it is an enriching place, where one can know incredible persons from all over the world and experience a lot of cheerful and heartwarming moments. I will never cease to amaze me how the residents of this center are able to collaborate and help each other independently from where they come from. They are a big community.

My main tasks consist of basic work for overall running of the center, like is the work at the reception where the residents of the center come for example to pick up their post or to make an appointment with our more specific departments. A part of that as a volunteer I have a room to organize leisure time activities for the residents. Sometimes just simple conversation or time spent playing games is of help. No day is same here. Every day brings me new experience and challenges, and that is what I like about this project. It allows me the self-realization and self-development and at the same time it makes me feel satisfied for doing something meaningful for the society. Additionally, I am lucky to have the best and nicest colleagues, who are always there to help me. I feel 100% part of the team.

In general, I evaluate this experience as very positive so far and this volunteering suited me perfectly. I also find the town and its surrounding lovely. Furthermore, I have a unique opportunity to develop my language abilities thanks to this project. In this region people speak French and German, so it is a little bit two in one. I am happy that thanks to this project, as a young person I have a chance to get out of the ´adult working cycle` and experience one great adventure. 

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