Faruk is standing on the bridge above the Meuse river, smiling at the camera.

Faruk - End of the ESC Project

Faruk, our former volunteer, has finished his volunteering experience and is now sharing with us his experience in Belgium. Faruk was a volunteer within the VIEWS International association within the European Commission's European Solidarity Corps program.

My ESC project came to an end last September and after the daunting task of recounting my interrail experiences, I thought it was time to give you a general overview of the whole adventure. My European Solidarity Corps volunteering experience in Belgium with VIEWS International was unforgettable. During my six months with the organization, I was able to make a positive impact on the community by supporting the team with administrative and logistics tasks, as well as contributing to various projects aimed at promoting the education and employment of visually impaired people throughout Europe.

I am particularly proud of the work I did at the VIEWS office, where I helped prepare newsletters, wrote documentation for various projects, and contributed to the organization of international youth events in Liege. I was also able to represent the organization as best as I could by actively participating in all the projects that VIEWS International was a partner of. It was incredibly fulfilling to see the impact of my work and to know that I was making a difference.

My volunteering experience also took me to a local youth centre, where I was able to interact with young people from the community and learn more about life in Belgium. I shared my intercultural perspective with them, helped with English homework, and practised my French language skills with native speakers. This was a unique opportunity to not only contribute to the community but also to learn from it.

When I started my ESC project, I had three main goals in mind: to use my skills to benefit the community, to improve my independent living skills, and to improve my French. I am happy to say that I made significant progress towards achieving all of these goals. I dedicated over 25 hours a week of my time to my ESC project, lived independently in a volunteer apartment, and cooked almost every day, which improved my cooking skills significantly. Thanks to the VIEWS volunteers, I also learned a lot about how to clean an apartment from top to bottom with environmentally sustainable cleaning supplies.

Perhaps the goal that I fell short on the most was French. The longer I lived in Liege, a French-speaking city, the more my French abilities progressed, but not as fast as they could have been. I couldn’t stay motivated to do more for French as I had other worries that were affecting my personal life at the time. Still, there was a natural improvement in my French that came with living in a place where the language was spoken and with everyday exposure.

Of course, not everything was as Rosie and I had my fair share of challenges as well. The chief among them was my motivation problem at times, which arose due to a personal problem of finding a direction for my life. This issue affected everything related to my volunteering experience from the work that I put out down to my pace of learning French. Even if I found it difficult to have motivation sometimes, I still tried to do my best and prevent it from ruining my volunteering experience. I think I mostly succeeded because I now remember those six months with the fondest memories and see it as an unforgettable time of my life.

It would be a shame if I skipped mentioning the other opportunities that my ESC program gave me. As I voiced countless times in the previous issues of the newsletter, I was fortunate enough to travel within Europe for projects related to VIEWS International. For instance, I got a chance to go to Italy and Macedonia as part of various different projects and experienced taking part in Erasmus Plus projects both as an organizer and a participant. Moreover, my project enabled me to do an interrail trip which I filled you in on with three articles in the previous issues. It was one of the best leisure trips of my life.

Overall, I had an outstanding ESC experience, meeting great people, dedicating my time to a cause I supported, and learning valuable lessons while having fun along the way. I am grateful for the opportunity to have these experiences and to all the people who made it possible. I have many fond and memorable moments that will stay with me forever.