I’d been thinking about doing an ESC project for years, but I never found the right time until now. And I’m so grateful that I finally took the chance. My first month in Prague with INEX has been an amazing experience that has already changed my perspective. From the moment I started thinking about living in Prague, I knew I was going to love it. The vibes in every corner, the history of the city and the variety of original plans and places to explore make every day a new adventure. 

On my first day in the office, I immediately felt the positive energy of my new colleagues. During the intense first days I immersed myself in the culture of the NGO and I got to learn the dynamics of the work. I also started to learn more about my responsibilities, which included content creation, social media management and event coordination, which was both stimulating and challenging.

Just a few days after arriving, I had the opportunity to attend the On Arrival training, an experience I can only describe as wonderful. The training was a space to reflect on our motivations for volunteering and to find support for any struggles we might find during the experience. It was a week-long course for a group of more than twenty ESC volunteers taking part in different ESC projects in the Czech Republic. We were in Němčice, a small town near Kolín, and we even had a chance to visit Kolín. Meeting people from all over the world with such diverse cultural backgrounds and life experiences was truly enriching. For me, the most surprising part was discovering that despite our differences, we were all very similar. We shared the same concerns, worries, interests and the same willingness to do our best and enjoy the time. In just five days they became friends with whom I’m already planning trips with and we shared countless laughs and moments.

I then returned to the office where everyone is very welcoming and makes me feel part of the team. Still, it’s a challenge for me as my role here is completely different to anything I’ve done before. My previous experience was in the HR department of a company, and now I’m getting the chance to learn about marketing and PR in an NGO. Best of all, I work for a noble cause: providing opportunities for young people who want to work together for a better world. With the help of my supervisor Markét and the rest of the team, I had a great time at our first event, where I had the chance to be the photographer. This is just the first of many events I will be involved in. Hopefully, I’ll be able to develop my event organizing skills as it’s something I really enjoy.  

On the other hand, the opportunity to explore the culture and heritage of the country has been amazing. I’ve been able to hike in breathtaking surroundings with my office mates. I’ve shared a night of salsa and bachata dancing and other wonderful moments around the city with my flatmate Ginger and Flora, the other ESC volunteers. I’m so grateful to all of them.

I’m excited to know that this journey has only just begun. Even though it’s sometimes difficult to be away from home and to deal with the language, different habits, etc., every difficulty I encounter along the way teaches me something. And although Czech is a challenge, thanks to Alča and the language exchange with her, I hope to at least be able to ask for a beer properly. In any case, I’m confident that I’ll really enjoy every moment and that these struggles will have a positive impact on my future, making me a more helpful, aware and capable person. Stay tuned to find out how the experience continues!