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Meet this year's European volunteers, part one!

Over the next four weeks, we will be introducing you to our European Solidarity Corps volunteers for 2022. This week, we want to introduce you to our first ESC volunteer, Willem.

"Hello everyone, nice to meet you! My name is Willem, I’m 23 years old from Belgium and I’m one of this year’s ESC (European Solidarity Corps) volunteers. I’m a secondary school teacher in English and Dutch.

Whenever I’m not working, you will find me playing guitar, reading a book, doing sports (such as running or cycling), or exploring. I like going on hikes to discover more about nature, but I love taking a stroll through the city just as much. I enjoy visiting museums in order to learn more about history and culture. Last but not least, my favourite pastime is visiting concerts and festivals. I really missed them during the Covid lockdown, but normally I can get free access to a local festival in return for working a couple of shifts.

Usually, my summer holidays are filled with youth camps. Since I was 15, I’ve been volunteering as a youth worker. With my organisation in Belgium, I spend many weeksper year preparing and organizing summer camps. The last couple of years, I even became head youth worker. From then on, I was in charge of the whole camp and needed to guide my volunteers in preparing and delivering the best possible camp.

I only recently heard of the ESC-project. When I graduated, I didn’t want to start working immediately, but neither did I want to do nothing. I wanted to do something useful andbroaden my horizons.Since I will be teaching English,I looked for an organisation in Ireland, the only English-speaking country left in the EU. Ireland is also a beautiful country, and the people are especially friendly.

Due to Covid, there were a lot less organisations ready to take in volunteers, eventhough there were a lot more volunteers that wanted to participate. As you can imagine, it was especially difficult to find an organisation to work for. I applied for many organisations, though I really hoped that Citywise would take on the role as my host organisation.

Don’t get me wrong, the other organisations were good as well. They were all youth working organisations, but Citywisestands out because they are purposefully making a change. Citywiseeducates the youth, which I really can connect with as a teacher and during Homework Club and CS Makers, I discovered that it wasn’t exaggerated. Citywise successfully helps young people in their academic careers!

I’m really glad that Citywise is giving me the opportunity to participate in their projects and to help reach their goals. Even better, I appreciate all the help and support that Citywise is giving us ESC-volunteers in order to grow as a person and to reach our own goals!"

We are fortunate to take part in the European Solidarity Corps programme each year, with volunteers bringing their own unique experiences and knowledge. Don't forget to check back next week to meet another of our volunteers!

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