Hello, my name is Julia and I am volunteering in the Arche Tirol.
This volunteering is going to be a life-enriching experience for me. There are a lot of experiences that are happening at an accelerated pace. I mean this it’s very intense, a few months with an amount of life experiences which, in a normal context, I would have experienced during several years of my life.
For me it is the first time that I have lived abroad for a long period of time. As well as the second time that I have got in touch with the world of social work. I remember that upon arrival, I’ve being confronted with so many new realities that overwhelmed me. But over the months I have managed to handle by learning to cope with these different new contexts.
The first area where I consider that I am evolving and learning a lot, is at work. Thanks to this volunteering, I have the opportunity to enter the world of work (although with a voluntary agreement). This allows me to intervene with people with functional diversity. This is very important and interesting for me, considering that I have studied social work. Not only am I learning to assume responsibilities and carrying out complex tasks, or learning about ways of intervening people with disabilities; but I am also gaining work experience with a social intervention group. In addition, the fact that I’m working in a different country is very important for my curriculum vitae.
I am learning a lot about disabilities, which enriches my professional skills to be able to work with this group. I consider that I am acquiring theoretical and practical knowledges, tools, and emotional and personal skills, that allow me to be a more empathetic person for professional intervention with people with disabilities.
Language has been and is being a constant field of challenges and evolution. Living abroad with a volunteer program, for me is the most effective way to learn a language. The motivation to be able to communicate with others is very high, and there are diverse and demanding situations in everyday life. The language for which I am putting the most motivation and effort into learning, is German. I learn by interacting every day in my organisation, in the German course that I attend, in my personal life and also in my everyday life. I practice English in many areas, especially in connection with the volunteer network in Tyrol.
I am getting to know Austria, its cultural reality, linguistic richness, impressive geography, part of its history and gastronomy. As well as the functioning of its society.
I am also developing my social skills a lot. My social circle has expanded a lot and I interact with people of different nationalities in many different contexts.
Moreover, I am developing my culinary skills by cooking for my organization. I am learning to cook for a large number of people. I also drive the car of the organization, which is a challenging task for me.
To conclude, I can say that this great experience is giving me a lot of knowledge and experience for my professional development. But it goes beyond that, as it contributes to my development as a person. I am acquiring intercultural competences and social skills, while expanding my horizon and life perspectives. I am in a process of redefining my identity, developing my personality and discovering a new direction for my life path.
Thanks for reading, Julia.