Our ESC in Portugal: An adventure that must be experienced

After volunteering in VCS (Volunteers Centre Skopje) for a long time and being active youth participants in the Erasmus mobility, we decided to spend one year in Portugal through the European Solidarity Corps (ESC) program.

ESC is an initiative that provides opportunities for young people. They can either volunteer abroad or in their home countries. Some common tasks involve helping people, working in an international team, collaborating on fun activities and promoting the Erasmus+ program.

Our greatest motivation was to be beneficial to a small community. Therefore we decided to move to Arrouquelas, a tiny village located in the center of Portugal with an amazing landscape, a quiet area with lovely and welcoming inhabitants. “H2O Associação de Jovens de Arrouquelas” is a youth organization that aims to provide better opportunities for the youth in rural areas. Usually, those areas are disadvantaged to urban areas.

Moving to Portugal during a pandemic might not sound like the smartest idea. However, it turned out to be a great choice! Right now we are developing useful skills and meeting new people. At the same time, we are learning about the importance of contributing to a community. Volunteering is not only helpful to the people in Arrouquelas but to ourselves as well.

Our hosting organization is planning activities that are keeping us active and involved in the daily routines. Fortunately, all of the activities are following the safety measures for our health and well-being. H2O quickly became our second home and we are excited to spend 10 more months in Arrouquelas.

If you are reading this and you still wondering if you should take part in an ESC project, we encourage you to apply! We promise: you will never regret it! We are beyond thankful to VCS and H2O for giving us this amazing opportunity!

Aleksandra Krstevska

Ana Mihajlovska

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