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Önkéntes beszámolóink: Catarina


CATARINA's experiences


Staying home is a great chance for planning. Discovering new opportunities, creating plans for the continuation.

In the following days we are going to share with you the experiences of our former EVS volunteers. Let yourself be inspired by the journey of Catarina!

"It may be cliché to start like this, but it's true that I always had the dream to have a long term experience abroad. However, I was always postponing it for some reason, either money, time or love... Or just, plain scare, I guess, of jumping into the unknown. This changed when I turned 30. I started to think about my life and this dream that I had never fulfilled, so far. At the same time, in the Summer 2018, I got unemployed, so I thought it was a good opportunity to turn things around. I wanted to go outside Europe, however, the volunteering opportunities that I was looking at required that I would pay for the flight and accommodation. At that time, I wasn't able to do so. Then, one day, I got to know about the opportunity to volunteer in this Hungarian organization called Artemisszió, through EVS. This meant that all expenses were paid by the volunteering program. I never really thought about coming to Hungary before, I was never very curious about it, but it was for sure abroad, different and it seemed an exciting project!

It was 7th October 2018, late night, when I arrived to Budapest, my first time in Eastern Europe! At that time, for someone that was coming from Portugal, the far West, Hungary was an Eastern European country. But things change, whenever one gains new perspectives and learns that there is more than one side to the same story. So, there I was, at the beginning of a life changing journey! I was picked up at the airport by Marina, my EVS coordinator. She then took me to the place that I would call my safe port for several months, my home in Budapest. Before leaving me to rest, she handed me a welcome pack with useful information and something more. Inside it, there was this really nice postcard with the inscription "It's your time to shine!". I couldn't have been better welcomed!

In the weeks after that, I got to know my flatmates, colleagues, my mentor Attila (the best mentor!), the Mira community, MiraDoor and people I know will be lifelong friends. It wasn't always easy, though. After the initial excitement, I started to get a bit down. After all, it was a very different culture... I was missing the way of Portuguese people and food, mostly. Honestly, I haven't come to terms with Hungarian food, still. But at some point, I started to feel more and more at home. I started to get to know the city, the way of Hungarian people, new and exciting things to do, other countries around, finding new hobbies and passions and, overall, I allowed myself to experiment. It was thanks to Artemisszió and all the diverse work I did with them, from research to community organizing and communication, that I found out I really love photography and video, something I would definitely like to explore in the future. It was also with them that I realized how powerful a community can be, when everyone works together to make it happen. They make it happen!

I can with all honesty say that it was one of the best experiences in my life. I met amazing people, got to know inspiring life stories and I also learned a lot about myself. Now that this journey is coming to an end, I don't know if I will ever come back, but what I do know for sure is that Budapest and its people will always be in my heart.

Thank you to all!"

For more information about the ESC program, contact us at: evs@artemisszio.hu
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