Report of the ESC volunteers in Alcalá la Real, Spain

We invite you to read the articles from Aleksandra Rogowska and Wiktoria Pragiel, European Solidarity Corps volunteers, who finished their short-term mobilities in Alcalá La Real, Spain with the host orgnaization “Asociación Socio-Cultural VerdeSur Alcalá”.

Aleksandra Rogowska:

As part of the European Solidarity Corps and thanks to the FRSP I spent two wonderful months in the south of Spain. In Alcala la Real, I was a volunteer in Verde Sur organization.

Due to the fact that I went on a short-term project my tasks included working in institutions such as:
– SAFA (helping to prepare lunch and playing with the children)
– Cristo Rey (helping with the serving of lunch)
-Cruz Roja ( once a week we helped the children with their homework and then we played with them)

Other tasks included working in the garden (which was also a great opportunity to bond with other volunteers 😊). There we planted plants that we could pick and then eat, eg: spinach. We also decorated the space so that we had a nice time there.

In addition, we met once a week at the Edificio Joven, Verde Sur’s office, for ‘Cafe de Idiomas’. There, we spent time playing various games and socializing with the locals from Alcala. Even when I felt tired after a long day, I loved going there for the great atmosphere. The language barrier was not terrible for us! I never learned to speak Spanish, so we often communicated by sign or with the help of google translator. There were weeks where we played games where no words were allowed! (So ​​my lack of language skills was not a problem :D)

Every Thursday we organized workshops for residents of Alcala. There was for example a bookclub where we talked about books such as Harry Potter or art classes where we painted, made some things from clay or made other DIYs.

There was also a volunteer house being built during my stay, which unfortunately I won’t have the opportunity of living in, but I did happen to help on site with cleaning or painting the walls!

As I’ve written before, while leaving Poland I couldn’t say anything in Spanish except ‘si’. This didn’t stop me from bonding with people in my workplaces, making contacts with locals. Moreover, during the project I picked up some of the language and want to continue learning it when I return home.

Of course there was also time to travel! I visited a large part of Andalusia: Malaga, Granada, Jaen, Seville and Cordoba. And in Alcala itself, we often went on picnics or hikes.

The two months passed me by like a day. I developed my interpersonal skills, made many friends, helped the local community and felt that my actions were actually making a difference to the quality of life of others. Richer in many experiences, I am leaving Alcala la Real. This place, and the people associated with it, will remain in my heart forever.

If you are considering going or have doubts about whether it is worth going – let me help you. It’s 100% worth it – apply even today! 😊

Wiktoria Pragiel:

Hello, my name is Wiktoria. I spent 2 months on a European Solidarity Corps project as a volunteer in Alcala la Real, Spain. The project was organized by Fundacja Rozwoju Społeczeństwa Przedsiębiorczego and Verde Sur. For me, this project was one of the best experiences I’ve had in my life, and I’m here to spread the word about these awesome projects.

What did I do in those 2 months?

My days were filled with activities aimed at serving the local community. I actively participated in various initiatives, including helping out in organizations like Cruz Roja and Caritas. I also assisted kids in schools by socializing with them and helping them learn English and Spanish. Additionally, my involvement extended to administrative tasks at Verde Sur’s office. Myself and other volunteers ran an art workshop where kids could enjoy some art therapy. I also took care of our local garden.

But it wasn’t just about the tasks at hand; it was about the journey of self-discovery and leveling up my life skills. Every day was a crash course in understanding myself and connecting with people from all walks of life.

I also made great connections with other people. We shared stories, laughed together, and learned so much from each other. We also traveled a lot and explored many different parts of Spain.

In my free time, I explored the local mountains and immersed myself in nature. There’s something about being surrounded by the serene beauty of nature that brings me a lot of peace and tranquility. I also took Spanish classes to further immerse myself in the language and culture. And of course, I made sure to spend quality time hanging out with friends, whether it was trying out local cafes, exploring hidden gems in the town, or simply enjoying each other’s company.

Looking back, this experience wasn’t just about giving back; it was about discovering the power we all have to make a difference, no matter how big or small. So, if you’re itching for an adventure that’ll change your life and make a positive impact, dive headfirst into these volunteer projects – you won’t regret it!