Hi! My name is Lucie and at this point, I’m taking part in my ESC project in Athens. And how did I get into it?

I was thinking about what to do next during the final year of my bachelor studies. Studying physiotherapy was interesting, I liked the work a lot. But on the other hand, I was exhausted and I felt that I need some kind of change before (and if) I am going to continue with studying for a Master degree. I have always loved helping others, somehow it was fulfilling me. I was already volunteering before so I knew that this is one of the ways so I started to look for more information and possibilities in this field. I wanted to go abroad to also get more language skills and I wished for going to some southern coastal country to be close to the sea. Something what we, in Czechia, miss. I was going through different projects on the EU Youth portal and have found one suitable for me. I got in touch with the NGO, did an online interview and we started to talk about my arrival.

But unexpectedly the whole covid situation got in the world and travelling got really complicated. Also some personal troublesome staff… so finally after finishing the studies I have decided not to go. Wait a little bit until the situation is more under control. And after some time, when it got better, that Greek NGO contacted me again, if I’m still interested. Why not? – I asked myself even though I have started working. So we set up a date for me to come and finally, although a bit later than expected, I arrived at the place.

And what kind of project it is? With the other four ESC volunteers and also a few local ones we volunteer for NGO which functions for an institution for disabled kids. From the very beginning, I have wanted something at least a little bit similar to what I’m used to professionally, so therefore I have decided on this one. Do some kind of rehabilitation. And because working with children is specific, I accepted it also as a challenge for myself.

We work five days a week, each day three hours in the morning and three in the afternoon. We do different kinds of activities with the kids according to their age, diagnoses, needs… From very simple walks with kids on wheelchairs outside, to drawing, handcrafts, cooking, stimulations, playing games, doing sports and in the summer, of course, swimming in the sea. Every Monday we have a meeting to plan all the activities for the whole week and which kids we take as well so we can plan it ahead and not take the same kids every time.

During the weekend we have free time so we can relax and travel around a greek diverse country. And really it’s not just a country of the sea for what I have always known it before. There are many historical places and sights, high mountains, nature and lively people.

Now I have been here for more than five months and I still have a lot ahead. There are days that are hard and I feel tired. Considerate that it is a completely different language which we are studying but still is really different from what is natural for me. But I want to highlight the support we get from each other and also our coordinators. So many things we can do and plan together and what is important…we can talk openly and honestly about everything!

ESC is an interesting experience for everyone open to getting to know new things and places and especially for those who are willing to help others. I would definitely recommend it. Even though there are hard days and times but on the other hand is there really a place where are not? There are a lot of opportunities and projects so everyone can find the one fitting for him.