Each year we are extremely lucky to host volunteers from all over Europe as part of the European Solidarity Corps (ESC) programme. To kick off our 12-week blog segment, ‘Faces of Citywise’ two of our ESC volunteers tell their story.
Introducing our first volunteer, Nacho.
“What great craic there is in Citywise! I came here from Spain, just after I had finished my time in college. I found the atmosphere was really buzzing and I felt totally at home from the moment I arrived. My aims are to help the community here in Tallaght and to improve my English.” As you can see, Nacho has already picked up a lot of Irish slang!
“Looking at my experience so far, I’m really happy with how it is going, and I am grateful to each of the staff members in Citywise and, of course, to all of the children. I have to say that the people are just brilliant and the times we have already shared will remain in my memory forever – with a lot more memories still to come! My favourite time in the day has to be lunch in the cafe: really familiar, special and you always end up stuffed!”
“The programmes I have been involved with here are so amazing: STEM, Khan academy, Homework Club, and Milan, to name a few. The facilities are astonishing, and I was really flabbergasted when I saw all the different activities that are available.” Nacho has been working hard on improving his English and loves to use new words he’s learnt whenever possible. He has been a great help in providing and improving our programmes.
“I love working beside our members and leaders! I enjoy aiding in the process of allowing the young people to learn something new! Everyone in Citywise has the same aim – to provide education to the youth of west Tallaght – it's great!”
“When restrictions are lifted, I really want to go to visit and discover other cities in Ireland - I especially want to visit the Cliffs of Moher. I am also excited to be allowed to play sports with all my new friends!”
“Citywise give a great welcome to their ESC volunteers. From the moment I arrived in Ireland, I knew I was going to enjoy my time here – and 3 months into my experience, this feeling has only gotten stronger! I am nothing but excited for the rest of my time here in Ireland.”
“Finally, if I had to choose just a few words to describe these experiences, I would say: "bleedin deadly!".
Welcome to our French volunteer, Heloise!
“Hello! I’m Héloïse, I am 23 and I am from France. From now until August 2021, I am an ESC volunteer in Citywise.
“My journey began during lockdown when I was looking for opportunities to volunteer in the education field somewhere in Europe. I took part in an international voluntary service last year and I loved my experience! I was a volunteer in l’Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie in Rabat, Morocco. The civil service advertised the European version of the service, ESC, as an opportunity to work in a solidarity field in another country for up to a year! It was everything I wanted and more! I would recommend ESC to anyone searching for a new experience!”
“A little before my time in Morocco, I was graduating in philosophy in Lyon. Volunteering abroad isn’t new to me but it’s my first time in Ireland. I wanted to try the experience again, this time closer to my field of interest: education.”
“I found Citywise and we immediately clicked! Now, I’m working in Tallaght, helping the children of the community to discover new things, have fun (everyday) and be proactive (a challenge for me too).
“Working during the pandemic is a challenge for a number of reasons! Covid restrictions, of course, had to be added to the general rule of working with children, which meant that on top of a language barrier, you also had a physical barrier to compete with. However, throw in a couple of face masks and a PVC screen and you’re ready to go! The restrictions meant that a lot of our afterschool programmes changed overnight from in person to over Zoom. It made getting to know the children a lot harder than it would in normal circumstances. That being said, everyone knows why they’re here and how important they are! The team at Citywise are also always happy to help!”
“We’re considered essential workers and with each little activity, each time we make a child smile on Zoom, I consider it a small victory in times where things can be dull and repetitive. We’re now entering the long winter months, but the building is always buzzing with planning and sharing ideas to make a great comeback in January. As they say, the show must go on!”