Since 2022, we started to welcome volunteers from Europe and help them get great new experiences and learn about what we do. This was a part of our general plan to develop a full European Solidarity Corps programme for welcoming volunteers in our organisation as well as sending volunteers from our organisation to organiations in Europe where they could learn, explore, and have fun!
We invite you to learn more and get involved with a great European Solidarity Corps programme, funded by European Union and Erasmus+ programme on their official page (click here: European Solidarity Corps) and on Croatian National Agency for Mobility and EU programmes (click here: AMPEU Europske Snage Solidarnosti).
We are happy to share the stories of our volunteers below.
Everyone is welcome to apply for volunteering programme with us, which will be provided with an expert mentor.
VOLUNTEER’S EXPERIENCES AT UPSET NGO
BY ARZU FROM TURKEY (07/2022 – 09/2022)
I am Arzu I am currently studying Special Education teacher at Akdeniz University in Antalya/ Turkey.
Last summer i was in Zagreb. The times helped me grow up and move away from my comfort zone to gain maturity and independence. Every time I think about my local coordinator, my homemates, friends, teachers or fellow volunteers, I cannot help but get emotional.
They did so much for me. My homemates gave me a place in their hearts and minds. My local coordinator was always there for me whenever I needed him, always making sure that I was adjusting and enjoying my stay here. The people I worked with tried to make my experience enjoyable and taught me all I needed to know.
Croatia is an incredibly nature-friendly and historical country. I lived in zagreb throughout the program but visited many different cities. all cities have a different story and of course all people. While traveling in Croatia you will hear the stories of both Europe and the Balkans. All these stories will surround you when you visit museums or drink coffee in a cafe.
Croatian people are very friendly and helpful. On the street everyone can speak English to you, or at least try. You can even speak German or Italian. I’ve been to a lot of street festivals. I visited different cities. I have done many nature walks alone. I always felt safe. I learned about different religions, which is something I couldn’t have done as easily in my country where 98 percent of the community is Muslim. I went several times to different churches and learned about different practices and beliefs and I was able to share my practices and beliefs with others. This year has given me so much. New perspectives of life and new ways to think. I have learned how to be independent and how to take care of others as well as myself. I have noticed a lot of differences in the culture and the people. I’m not scared to express my feelings anymore. I learned to respect what I and what others have. I am very lucky to have this experience what a lot of people can only dream of. This exchange summer has been an awesome experience for me.
I have decided to apply for this programme because I am sure it would strongly enrich my future studies and help me in my prospective career. Moreover, I considered this programme as a great opportunity to get in touch with Croatian culture and educational system.
During my stay there, I learned Croatian, Bosnian and Italian words and discovered many new places and new things. It was very difficult for me to return from there, but I am sure that I have another family there now. This is how we can really learn about others. The lessons I learned will stay with me forever and my belief in cultural exchange will never leave me. I have traveled to different countries as a student before. I say with all my heart that if you are in Zagreb people will make you feel at home.
Since the application conditions and the opportunities provided vary according to the sending institution and individual differences, I refrain from giving clear information on these issues.