My name is Ainhoa and I am the new Placement Officer in the SCI Switzerland office. I came from Spain as an EVS volunteer and I will stay in Berne for a year.
When people ask me why SCI, I answer that for me it is very important to work on something we enjoy, and surrounded by a community that share our values. Since I got to know that SCI was an organization enrolling people to volunteer for the global peace, I quickly understood that my next adventure could start with a long-term project with them. I was willing to discover what was behind the fascinating activities they offer. And what about the country? How to be sure that we chose the right place to be? You can never be completely free from doubt unless you dare to live the adventure! In my case, the decision was very personal. It came after a big dream and a long reflection, and I was aware that an EVS is not only the year we are not home, but a life-changing experience.
The first two months cooperating with SCI have been an ongoing learning in all the senses. Once here, I was showed how to proceed in my daily tasks. I mainly work on the placement, which means that I am the link between the volunteer and the hosting organization during the application process. In different occasions I am supporting my colleagues in their areas: social media, communication or events organisation. This is the perfect opportunity for me to acquire new skills and competences that I will be able to develop personally and professionally.
Learning, skills, competences… As a volunteer in SCI Switzerland, I could also coordinate a summer workcamp in Aargau, where an international group of 8 people built a wall in the community of Gipsgrueb with the local members. It was a challenge, like any first-time experience, but I was extremely satisfied of the results and grateful to have been encouraged and empowered to live it. Furthermore, besides the intercultural exchange, it was an opened door to the culture I am living with (which was fundamental for me): I could spend time with the intergenerational community of neighbors and contribute as a local for a couple of weeks.
And then… I joined the On-Arrival Training! It was an event organized by the Swiss National Agency where all the EVS volunteers in Switzerland met and shared their projects while going further into the culture of the hosting country. If I had to highlight something, I would say the motivation of every volunteer. We were all at the beginning, trying to adapt to a foreign country and struggling with language and cultural barriers, but enthusiastic to find our place here, in our hosting organizations, in our cities, in our new lives!
From the start of my EVS I felt part of the SCI Switzerland team and I found the sense of every step I was making forward. I am enjoying every moment in Berne and feeling rewarded for the personal development I am experiencing thanks to the project I chose. From now on I will learn German and who knows the challenges that are waiting for me in Switzerland!
EVS is financed by Movetia and therefore completely free for all participants. It includes travel expenses, food and accomodation, a language course and pocket money.