Escrito por Samira Haraki, voluntaria SVE en Irlanda.
My name is Samira, I have Moroccan nationality but I have been living in Spain since I was 6 years old. I could not get my European Passport yet, that’s why I applied for a Visa to come to Ireland. This process took me 3 months until I arrived to Ireland. Unfortunately, my EVS project was 9 months and not 12 like my colleagues. I feel fortunate because my sending and my host organizations were helping a lot until I got my Visa.
When I arrived to Ireland the first thing that captured my attention was that the people was walking in the street in the same direction that the cars, so was so challenging to walk in the street without collide with people! Maybe the big challenge after my Visa application was to understand the Irish accent. I remember perfectly the first month working in PAKT( Parents And Kinds Together) with Elaine, Norma, Brain and the different clubs with the kids and their families.
During one month I was feeling exhausted during and after work because my brain was trying to understand what was going on. But after same month, and after all the help from my managers, I started to understand what was happening around me. I feel luck also because Brian trusted in me to do mentoring in the programme One2One (“link young people who are experiencing difficulties in their lives with a trained mentor who will be available both as support and resource to the young person”) even my English was not so good. This experience helped me a lot to discover my creative side.
Although the tasks were so many and sometimes I felt stressed, I need to recognize that I have learned a lot from all the children and all the managers. Is just in the end when you can see how hard was everything because sometimes you take with you all the problems that a lot of kids had in their home. The best feeling ever is when, after every club you see the kids enjoying and having fun, how bit by bit they start to know you, to respect you, and to love you. How they became sad when they know that you are going to leave in several months, and the only single thing that you can bring with you when you finish is all the nice memories.
Evs is a great experience that will change something in your side, and will help you to become stronger, more independent and a more confident version of yourself, in other words, be aware that you will not be the same anymore after this year.
From my own point of view is really hard to found the best project that can make you grow up like a person and also learn or improve the language that you like. In my case, I feel happy and lucky that I could made this EVS with the specific activities that I loved and in English language. All the volunteers we had the opportunity to take classes every Saturday from 10 a.m to 1:20 p.m. It was so important for me to attend to this classes because there they explain you for example that Irish people never, never ever will correct you a sentence in English if it’s wrong because for them is something rude. And of course if you ask them if your sentence is present perfect or past perfect they will not be able to answer you because they don’t study English grammar in the school! So your best option for asking about grammar is English Hour with Vivien and Owen. They are the best teachers ever! They have a lot of experience teaching foreigners students and they are so pragmatic. But also if you want to test your English you have to speak with native people, and if you understand them that means that you are in a good way! Keep going, you are doing it well!
Training and Work
YMCA offer us three trainings during the year with other volunteers which gave us the opportunity to know other volunteers and their projects, and two more trainings in Cork related to PAKT.
In PAKT I used to work from Monday to Thursday (two clubs in Tallagh, one club in Crumlin, one club in Dublin and one club during the summer in Celbridge). On Fridays and when PAKT was closed, I used to work with babies in the creche, youth work and the cafeteria.
In the end I would like to Thank a lot everybody from YMCA for helping me to grow up and teaching me a lot of things, and of course I thank them for this amazing work that they make for the community.