I am Marta, one of the Spanish volunteers participating in the project ‘Make Silesia Attractive for Foreigners’ in Katowice.
Our main goal is to create useful content for tourists around the world who wish to visit the region. For that aim, we are creating a website that reflects the information gathered by monitoring several locations and services throughout Silesia.
However, as important as attracting new visitors is that us, the volunteers, engage with the community and create new opportunities for intercultural exchange. This has been for me one of the most enriching aspects of the European Voluntary Service program since I find it mutually beneficial.
On the one hand, I feel that these intercultural interactions have a real positive impact in the community. But on the other hand, it is a unique way for us to integrate ourselves into the local community and learn about its traditions, language and history.
Additionally, being part of a diverse group of volunteers has taught me to work within international teams but also to be more conscious about which was my comfort zone. This diversity has turned out to be a source of strength within our EVS team because each member has provided something different and has contributed to the identity of the group. However, I would say that every volunteer can get a different experience out of EVS according to his or her interests. Indeed, each of us is encouraged to develop our own initiatives within the project and our leisure time is also considered crucial for our involvement in the city. Certainly, what makes EVS unique is that there is no routine and every day is different. Every new day is a new opportunity to meet new people, to connect with the community, to try local food, to learn new skills and to discover the region. Working together with Bona Fides and getting to know its different projects has also been a beautiful experience. Volunteers find the office as their second home since the team from Bona Fides has built a relationship of companionship based on work and mutual support. And this aspect has certainly enabled us to feel part of the team and to find in them not just coworkers but also friends and inspiration.
In the end, European Voluntary Service is about connecting people because every new encounter is a step forward and every story is unique.