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Meet this year's European volunteers, part two!

We are back with the second instalment of our European Solidarity Corps volunteer series. This week we want to introduce you to Javi!

"Hi friends!! I am Javi, one of the ESC volunteers at Citywise. I am 23 years old, and as soon as I finished my university studies in Spain, I decided to embark on this adventure that is the Citywise project.

Where do I begin? Well, of course, from the beginning! I don’t want you guys to get bored though so I will begin by answering the question; "Why did I want to come?" One of the main reasons why I chose Citywise as my choice for a place to work, was because I saw it as a great chance to improve my English, and I was just after finishing my university studies, so it fit into the plan well. Little did I know that after just six months here it would not only be my English skills which improved, I also learned a lot of new things since I arrived too.

You may have heard of the quote from Albert Einstein which says, “the best way to learn is by having fun”, no? You haven’t? Well let me tell you it is certainly true and Citywise is one of those places which implements this practise every day (and it’s not just with the children). Words like ‘grand’, ‘deadly’ and ‘craic’ are heard here every day and are some of the first words I picked up on.

I learned that the words ‘grand’ and ‘deadly’ are basically the same word and they mean excellent! These are often heard when the children have done or are doing some of their activities and it is not about whether you have achieved the main goal, you still done excellent by being there and taking part. This is one of the important things in Citywise, every day is a new day, and you will always be ‘grand’ once you try.

Another great word that I learned from working here is ‘craic’. Craic comes from the Irish slang and is a word that means fun, and there is always fun being had at Citywise.....ALWAYS!!! I think it is because of the staff’s mood toward work and their sense of humour, and perhaps because the children are in a safe environment where they can learn through fun and games, but there is always a lot of Craic to be had at Citywise.

I am really looking forward to learning more of these ‘deadly’ Irish slang words and I know that the children are eager to teach me loads more! That is a great thing about Citywise is that the children come in with such good energy and they can make everyone laugh with their jokes. It helps to make the day seem that much more happy.

I have also had a great chance to see a lot of the local Tallaght area and talk to the local people while doing the Citywise Draw. Every week we get to go and we knock on the doors of the people and it is a time to get to know the true people from Jobstown. It is the best time to have the ‘chats’ with the people and get to know a few more of these slang words that I am loving to learn. And if you are lucky, you might see one of the children who attends Citywise and you get a big hello from them which will always make your day.

One of the last things I will say and one of the things which I like the most about Citywise is the leadership projects and how involved they are in Citywise. They are young girls and boys who volunteer their time to come in and take the responsibility to try and make a change to the community by developing themselves and Citywise. I do not think they are aware of it, but every day they teach me a huge lesson by showing how much they work for themselevs and others.

So, I think from reading this my dear friends, you can see that I came here to improve my English, and I hope you will agree it is one less notch on my belt!"

Our volunteers take every opportunity to learn on the ESC project. They immerse themselves in the Irish culture, but also in the Citywise culture. It is not only the young people teaching the volunteers, but the volunteers teaching the young people too!

Don't forget to come back next week when we will introduce you to our third volunteer!

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