Time flies, already one year since I arrived in Bulgaria as a volunteer with the European Solidarity Corps and it is time for me to close this chapter and start a new one.
I arrived in January 2021, a little lost and curious about what the future would bring. I came here to try new things, to discover and learn. And of course, I discovered many things here.
First of all Bulgaria, this beautiful and unknown country that deserves to be mentioned more often, for its mountains with breathtaking views, the seaside, in which many memories are engraved in my memory, Burgas among friends, Sozopole which I fell in love with especially its old town and this place where the stone and the sea meet, but also other places a little more secret and intimate like Irakli a heavenly place where I felt out of time with dear ones.
How to speak about Bulgaria without speaking about Plovdiv?
Plovdiv is the city where after one year I feel at home, the city where I spent most of my time during this year, where I have my habits, my favorite places where everyone is welcoming. This city is rich in culture, where everything is mixed and cohabits together. Its old city with its amphitheater, and its particular architecture, without forgetting all these hills which surmount the city, from where we have a splendid sight on all the city.
This year also gave me the opportunity to discover and meet a lot of people here in Plovdiv but also across Europe, thanks to the work in Smokinya, and to create international relationships with other volunteers or even members of Smokinya partner organizations. It was a real privilege to be able to take part in this European and international community and to share moments with people from different countries. After all, that’s what volunteering is all about, not just going to another country but taking part in a diverse team with different backgrounds and experiences, and letting them surprise you by talking and sharing moments with them in order to really discover what the word “Culture” means.
Cooperation, project coordination, project management, project writing, communication, time management, and many others… All these strange words were without any meaning for me until a short time ago and which now make sense, thanks to my volunteering. I know now the meaning of all these expressions because I took part in them for one year, helping Smokinya Foundation in its daily routine and work for the youth.
And also this big word “learning by doing”, complicated to understand at the beginning but which allowed me to accomplish many things of which I am proud today. To discover what I really wanted to do, to achieve things that I had in mind for a long time but I never dared to do because of lack of knowledge and ability. Share your story is the perfect example. Thanks to this method I discovered what I was really capable of, and what I really like to do. I understood that everything is a question of willingness, of having the willingness to learn, to progress, and to develop personally. I understood that it is by taking risks and trying new things by myself, that the expected results will present by themselves. “There are no mistakes, only results”.
Thanks to the method and support of Smokinya Foundation, dreams come true. In June 2021 Smokinya club was born, and it took a few difficulties to get the result I was looking for. Investing myself, finding solutions to create this community of young people living in Plovdiv to act together for the locality, in order to develop ourselves, by organizing meaningful workshops around storytelling, media literacy, for example, was not always easy and was full of doubts and challenges. But I am delighted today to receive once a week with all my supportive team, about 25 young people from Plovdiv to share a few hours together. I enjoy organizing, imagining receiving and handling the meeting with all these people, a feeling difficult to explain for me. To have created a community here makes me very happy.
And it is thanks to all these achievements, tries, training, risk-taking, and curiosity that I discovered what I wanted to dedicate the rest of my life to. Today I’m going back to France with a precise direction, to become a Youth worker, Trainer. Acting for the European youth, supporting young people in the discovery of their superpower as Smokinya Foundation did for me is what I want to stay busy with, and I’m glad to say that I have already started to follow this way thanks to Erasmus + training courses.
And finally, I discovered a great team here in Smokinya.
Volunteers, colleagues and friends, Kalda, Vladan, Valentina, David, Igor, Masha and Vicky, all these people who will remain in my memory, you all brought me something that I will take back with me to France.
Director, trainer, coach and friends, Sipi and Tisho, with their help I was able to develop myself personally and discover what I was capable of thanks to their method, experience and support.
To all of you, I would like to say thank you for these 12 months here for accompanying me on this adventure, in Plovdiv, In Smokinya Foundation,
and don’t forget, this is not a goodbye, only a see you soon!
This program is co-funded by European Solidarity Corps program of the European Union.
The European Commission’s support for the production of this publication does not constitute an
endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be
held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. //
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