IVY stands for “Interreg Volunteer Youth” and is a pilot action to offer the possibility to young Europeans aged 18-30 to serve as volunteers in cross-border, transnational or interregional programmes and related projects for 2-6 months. Being solidarity and volunteering at the heart of IVY, this initiative is part of the European Solidarity Corps. Every participant is financially supported with a daily allowance.
Hey! My name is Onisor Ioana and I am coming from Romania. Eternal volunteer and student, sometimes both at the same time, I simply cannot say ‘no’ to new challenges. Studying International relations and European Studies in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, I have managed to put in practice my knowledge by studying in three different countries and adding two more for volunteering purposes. I love to help and work for different social issues, especially for the youth of today and tomorrow.
I have managed to live in these countries not only thanks to my motivation but also with the help of the European Union programs targeted to youth mobilities. Two Erasmus scholarships, one in Groningen, Netherlands and the second one in Rabat, Morocco, one European Voluntary Service completed a year in Bordeaux, France made me more aware of the challenges we face today in the Union. This is why I believe that all my international past has served me as a stepping stone for what was going to happen next – being recruited to volunteer in the CaSYPoT Project in Kalmar, Sweden for the next five months.
When borders are significantly less important, the differences between regions stand out and this is where we step in. Following the surveys focused on youth issues around the South Baltic Region, I will be dealing with social media related activities, the results of the surveys and the follow-up discussions and meetings. Daily, I am getting accustomed to the vast and diverse CaSYPoT project, acquiring new information at the Regional Council in Kalmar. Life is for learning and for fully experiencing all that it gives. Have I mentioned that I have been given the opportunity to live on an island in Sweden? Öland is an amazing place to visit and explore.
But…what does a Mediterranean guy do in Poland?
It’s safe to say that I’m here because of an amazing experience called European Voluntary Service. Indeed, in 2015 I spent 6 months in Limassol (Cyprus) serving as a volunteer for an NGO named Key – Innovation in Culture, Education and Youth. Over there I worked to promote volunteering among locals and to raise awareness on the importance of active citizenship organizing intercultural events, seminars and exchanges. In the morning I used to help in the charity centre managed by the local Orthodox Church. Among French and Cypriots, Spanish and Romanians, Greeks and Poles I learned that if your native culture determines who you are, it’s only through the exchange of knowledge and feelings that you come to realize that there’s a vast world beyond every single border.
And what does this have to do with the fact that I’m in Poland now?
Well, I couldn’t be here if it hadn’t been for such an enlightening experience: I can talk in public without feeling my heart is going to blow up; I am aware of my limits but I do know that they can be overcome; I can handle my workload without panicking if something goes wrong. As simple as that. This personal development boosted by the experience in Cyprus – combined with my studies in International Relations and General Management – made me able to apply successfully for this position.
So, why am I here?
I am here to work in the CaSYPoT Project at the Euroregion Baltic – International Permanent Secretariat in Elblag where I’ll be dealing with communication and dissemination related activities as well as the capitalization of the results of the surveys carried out in the South Baltic Region. Obviously, only if the glacial Polish winter will not tear this Mediterranean guy down!