Intercultural experience and gaining confidence.
The task of writing a monthly blog post is a really helpful one as it forces me to think about and reflect on what I’m living here. I just spent 2 hours writing down impressions and things I did since I arrived in Croatia…and that was the first time in a month!
Anyway: let’s talk about cultures, confidence and foreign languages. Speaking with Sarah, my roommate from Jordan, with people from the on-arrival training (3 French guys! but also people from Croatia, Macedonia, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Serbia, Turkey) has really broadened my comprehension of other people, aroused my interest about intercultural topics and has, at last, rooted my will of learning languages.
Being immersed in a different culture, and going out of my comfort zone, is not always an easy journey. I may find some behaviors rude whereas it is normal for people here. One example: people I’ve met here really seem to me more straightforward than in France, not always trying to embellish questions or remarks with a politeness layer. I also see that some things are so important for people, while they are a matter of indifference to me. Which can lead to a lack of understanding. But in the meantime, this experience emphasizes the similarities between human beings, regardless of their social habits and customs in their everyday lives. It may seem naïve to highlight it but racism and discriminations exist partly because we sometimes tend to forget that, as human beings, we can always gather ourselves together around topics like love, family, home (the German “Heimat”), self-knowledge, solidarity… I am maybe just a bit disappointed not to have the opportunity to reach these topics so often here, due to the lack of opportunities to meet new people (a mix of : Murter’s population in winter – people who are not my age or who already have their friends’ circle – and my own difficulties to go and speak to people I don’t know).
And I really wish I will implement certain cultural traits that I see here, in my everyday life in France: the coffee time and the “pomalo” way of living are two of them, for sure.
I believe, or at least I hope so, that at the end of this volunteering experience I will have gained confidence and maybe some knowledge (or even certainties, we can always dream 😊, about myself). I already can see small improvements regarding being more confident and daring to ask questions (thanks to people around who inspire me). And I am slowly making my state of mind about speaking foreign languages evolve: I am far from being perfect in English but I am now seriously considering the possibility of working in an international team. I am trying to, once and for all, change my mindset from: “not daring to do things if I don’t know most of the theory about it” to “starting to do things and improving myself during the process”. Not as easy as it sounds… But doing things I am not used to do here : speaking in English in my everyday life, creating logos etc, helps, for sure.
Rose, volunteer from France
About the ESC : The European Solidarity Corps is a program of the European Union to strengthen solidarity in various areas: from helping the disadvantaged and providing humanitarian aid to engagement for health and the environment in the EU and beyond.
The program offers young people the opportunity to respond to the needs of the community, make a concrete contribution to society, and in the process gain invaluable experience and develop new skills. The program is also intended for organizations active in the field of solidarity that want to involve young people in their activities.