In May 2019 we went to Greece with Erasmus plus. It was our first connection with this programme, so we were full of expectations. As two 18 years old high school students, not very experienced with life itself, we were little worried about traveling alone to a foreign country for whole month. Living on our very limited budget, getting around in place with different language AND alphabet, communicating with locals (most of them cannot speak English very well), living in house with 12 complete strangers… But any of these stopped us, because the positives were much more valuable.
We were a part of volunteering programme called ‘Paths of Memory‘ located in the village of Kryoneri, its main goal was to make footpath to a cave, where Jewish people were hiding during World War II. This was the main reason why we came here, to make something meaningful and helpful for our society but also for ourselves to grow personally. We‘ve learned a lot about history of this village and about good-hearted people from village, who helped Jewish families to hide from Nazi army. For us the most powerful part of this story was that they risked not only their own lives but also lives of their whole family and friends.
We worked on this project with a lot of different people with a lot of different backgrounds, cultures, personalities, habits, values… It wasn‘t easy all the time, we needed to communicate to solve our problems, but every time we found a solution. That helped us not only to improve our communication skills, but also to learn how to respect and accept the differences between us.
The part we were most afraid of was the best part of it. 14 young people, total strangers with different mindsets living together in one house, that seemed very crazy. But that was only until we got to know them. We didn‘t even expect to become such a great group of friends in this short time.
Volunteering was the main reason why we came here but it definitely wasn‘t the only one. We really love traveling, exploring new cultures and meeting new people. This programme gave us a lot of opportunities to do all of this as well. In our free time we traveled a lot, we saw the beauty of Greece, met local people and became friends with them.
We are very grateful that we could join this project. It gave us a lot of experiences and it made us much more open-minded people. If you have any doubts about being a volunteer, our advice is: DO IT!
Anna and Majka from Slovakia