My one-year European Solidarity Corps mission: a tailormade very positive journey

Time is up, my twelve months European Solidarity Corps project within Volunteers Centre Skopje – Волонтерски Центар Скопје (VCS) is behind me. Now is  debriefing time. It has been a memorable year in anoutstanding NGO in unprecedented circumstances. Living in downtown Скопје – Skopje and being a VCS team member has been very motivating. Voices magazine has been the compass of my time in VCS, our flagship. So, it is my pleasure to share my impressions here.

I arrived on-site in early February 2020, enjoying for a few weeks a reality we were about to indefinitely leave behind overnight. While this environment was still pretty culturally new to me, our world changed significantly and life became way more unusual than it used to be in the snap of a finger. I have been considerably impressed by the ability of my supervisors and teammates to go to the outer limits of flexibility in this difficult situation, implanting in-depth the idea of solidarity. As a response to the tough impact of this extraordinary crisis on international projects, we have been dedicating the utmost efforts in a good team spirit to find ways to adjust and enhance a fruitful dynamic among ourselves. A wide proportion of our businesses remained underway, and I learned valuable new skills thanks to the expertise of my colleagues and gained many high-level intercultural insights in a nice atmosphere.

Our breadcrumb trail, the foundation of our action can be equally summarized by the two following mottos “Unity in Diversity” and “Together Stronger”. Being a member of a very dedicated multicultural team composed of both locals and foreigners has been very stimulating. It is my firm belief there are countless assets in combining various nationalities within the same team. I genuinely think seeing beyond our respective national structures and specific working cultures definitely enhances our polyvalence and allows us to give birth to a unique blend of innovation.

Despite I have been living several times abroad in these last years, getting step by step acquainted with a quite new way of life is each time a distinct learning exercise with its own characteristics. I am very pleased to define Skopje as one of my hometowns. I could not have spent this year in a better environment, and for this, I would like to thank the whole VCS team: Фала многу!

I am delighted of having had this opportunity to experience once again applied interculturality. I left my position with plenty of good memories and a new experience in the fascinating Western Balkans, after a first experience in Sarajevo a few years ago. I gained an enhanced awareness of the wideness of the scope of European realities. For this, I would like to kindly thank all stakeholders who contributed to turning this project into a reality: VCS, my sending organization i.PEICC Peuple et Culture (Montpellier, France), and the European Commission. As for the next step on my path, I am surely motivated in harnessing my skillset in favor of dialogue beyond borders once again. So, in a nutshell: long live interculturality, long live Human Rights, long live Voices!

Jules Striffler – Жул Штрифлер

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