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Roxana's ESC experience

Hi everyone, this is Roxana, I’m twenty-seven years old, I come from Romania. Since September 2019 I have a pleasure to participate in European Solidarity Corps volunteering project in Belgium. I've already had the occasions to take part at previous European exchanges, but this project was something absolutely new for me. Nearly before the project I was struggling with many emotions but the main feelings were excitement and fear because that was the first time when I was leaving my country for nine months without my friends and family. However, over all these feelings I was truly motivated to change my life and give all my capacity to help others.

Few more words about me. That how I said at the beginning my name is Roxana. I'm blind person since the birth. All my education took place at the special schools for visually impaired people in my country what I find helpful in my project. I am also a qualified psychologist. My interests are the history and singing. The second one takes a lot of time in my life, especially the Romania's folk music which is my favorite kind. I'm doing my project in IRHOV (l'Institut Royal pour les Handicapés de l'Ouïe et de la Vue) which gives me the opportunity to work with disabled youth and this is exactly what I would like to do in my life.

At the beginning of my project I was facing many problems. I had to start a new life, in new country and unknown environment. However, the thing which brought me the most problems was mobility. Working at this issue took many hours of my hard work. Fortunately, with huge help and involved of VIEWS volunteers as Carine and Tamara, I've been starting to break all these barriers. That what gave me also a lot of fantastic memories was the French lessons with Philippe, who leads his course in truly unusual way, what gives so much fun and knowledge at the same time. I'm also really thankful to my mentor Corentin, who helped me every time when I communicate any problem. Finally, I have to mention Anca, who is my project coordinator, her role, was not just limited to an official relation. She's as a good friend on which you may count at every moment. Anca led me and my fellow volunteer Kuba through all the project and she was supporting us every time when we needed, especially during this hard time of COVID-19 pandemic.

The time which I spent at IRHOV was inspiring as well. At this place I had majority of my activities. Eventually, I got the opportunity to work with youth which I always like to do, That was a time when I was able to give all my experiences that I purchased during my education. To be honest, the beginning was really hard, I had to recognize the new places and try to break out the language barrier which was also not easy. In the course of time everything has been going easier because of my determination and help of others people from my environment. I also have to say that not everything was great, I encountered many problems that I could not overcome, eventually all these things gave me the unique experience and, in some way, rebuilt my character.

This time spent in Liege during my ESC was something fantastic. It has changed my whole life. Despite the fact that I felt anxiety, now I'm fully satisfied that I decided to participate in an adventure like this. Many thanks to all my collaborators, people I met, friends and VIEWS staff for this tremendous nine months which I spent in Belgium. I also would like to recommend this project for every visually impaired young person: you should not be afraid, that will be a time which will give you many fantastic memories and will let you met a lot of new people. I'm so grateful that I could be with all of you there.