First month in Madrid

Hi, this is Katerina, I'm 24 years old, and I'm writing this article from Madrid, where I'm doing a long term ESC program.

About a month ago I started my trip to Spain to participate in a European Solidarity Corps volunteer program. The title of the program is From Europe to Vallecas, it lasts 10 months and brings together volunteers from different parts of Europe to stay and work in the Vallecas area of ​​Madrid with children and young people from less privileged social groups.

Arriving in Madrid, at the airport I met Mar, the person in charge of the organization with which I would work in the coming months. After arriving at the place where we will work, we talked about all the details of the work we will do together. The first night brought the first meeting with the other 3 volunteers. In a small bar, near the area where we live, we met and tried our first Spanish tapas. In the following days, we met all the people we will work with, but also other young people in Madrid, creating our new company. Together, we began to discover the city and our new life here. A beautiful, colorful and lively city, which has a lot to live for you.

My work in ESC consists of several parts. Most of my volunteer program takes place at the Asociación Cultural San Pablo organization, where every afternoon I spend time with children and teenagers and, together with the trainers, we help them with their lessons and play with them, contributing to their creative work in the free their time. In addition, part of my activities is with the organization Europa Joven Madrid, which deals with youth mobility within the EU. There, through activities shared with other volunteers, we will promote Erasmus + programs, but also share our own culture with other young people in Madrid.

The first month in Madrid was full of all kinds of emotions. Enthusiasm, impatience, joy and curiosity for the new adventure I had in front of me. But also fear, anxiety and anxiety for every new challenge that life brings to a new country, working in an environment without previous experience and with people who speak a language that is difficult to understand. But my daily life, although it changed abruptly, was filled with many new things. The daily interaction with the children of San Pablo always left me with a smile. The new friends I know, from every corner of Europe and the world, share with me this Erasmus journey, learning from each other. My new reality changes me every day and teaches me how many beautiful things you can discover outside your comfort zone. With even greater enthusiasm and impatience, I look forward to what the continuation of this journey will bring me.