NAME OF THE PROJECT: Vivre Ensemble dans une dynamique interculturelle
NUMBER OF THE PROJECT: LU-21-32-2010-R5
DATE OF THE ACTIVITY: 04/05/2011 – 31/03/2012
the hosting organization Maison des Associations Luxemburg
Sending organization A.C.T.O.R.-Cultural Association for Theatre and Origami in Romania
Volunteer will be involved in activities of animation, communication with communitys in Luxembourg but also developing and helping the associations on their tasks. The greatest objective is to promote the intercultural activities within the other community’s resident on Luxembourg and to promote the opening of these associations towards Luxembourgish society and culture.
The animation will have a strong pedagogic side and will promote citizenship and responsibility helping to develop their own competences. So, the volunteer will work also with children and the elderly population.
With associations: connecting the associations to developed several activities, networking and improving objectives for the associations.
With the elderly: Development of specific activities regarding thematic meetings with the purpose of promoting the participation of the elderly population in everyday social life and fighting against sedentariness and developing competences and channeling activities that value long life learning.
The Library: The volunteer will participate in the ongoing developing a library for our association. The activities in question will be the organizing of the growing number of French, English, Luxembourgish, Spanish, Portuguese, German and other books donated to our association and cataloging them so that in the future users can access them easily like a normal library.
Volunteer will work 30 hours a week, depending on needs of the Organization, about 6 hours a day from Monday to Friday. Volunteer has the right to have 2 days of holidays for each worked month. Also holidays, free days from work will be off (unless in that time there are occasional events and volunteer is asked for help, after which he/she could have free day extra).
The communication activities will take place, normaly, in the Maison des Associations headquarters (46, rue de Mühlenbach 2168 Luxembourg) through the contact via internet, telephone and personal interviews in the headquarters of the associations. But, the volunteer can participate in some activities out of Luxembourg-city.
– office material (stapler, arquives, clips, copy machine, etc.), plastic expression (paper, glue, scissors, etc), computers, web connection, printer, scanner, laptop) and audiovisual aids (headphones, microphone, camera, digital audio recorder, etc).
Ca urmare a experientei de pana acum… care nu a fost chiar usoara… mi-am promis ca… ma voi specializa in dreptul migratiei si voi invata cat mai multe despre drepturile strainilor, pentru ca [anumite lucruri] sa nu se mai intample si Uniunea Europeana sa fie intr-adevar un spatiu fara granite si fara discriminari de pasaport, asa cum se sustine in principiile ei.
EVS experience is that those jokes where you are told that something is somehow when you see it form distance and appears differently when you’re close.
Is it good or bad? I would ask those who have never been in EVS. It depends. EVS experience is so different depending on the location, culture, and mentality of the person who is the protagonist in such an experience that it is impossible to generalize what is beautiful and pleasant. What is interesting for a Romanian can not be as enjoyable and interesting for a German, a Spanish or an Armenian person. Even between two Romanians living in the same place EVS experience may be perceived differently depending on personality.
EVS experience for me is still an experiment in progress, since there are two months only that I am here. But I had time to have some first experience and crystallize some first impressions.
EVS debut was as a plunge in a pool of water whose temperature is too cold to not ready and that I had to adjust too quickly. First of all, because I replaced a person who withdrew from EVS and had to take things up from where she left. Secondly because I had to change my lifestyle. Before arriving here I had a stable job, a friend who saw me every day and habits that kept my life in balance. Arriving here involved so a sudden readjustment to a new linguistic environment, and cultural and social habits and learn new habits. Adaptation was not easy, I admit, there have been misunderstandings and (especially linguistic), but I survived J.
I thought I was great for talking three languages, but there are many here who are fluent in 7 languages, I do not exaggerate!
The work you do
Of course, the work they do is among the most important, after all is the engine that put into operation EVS-er motivation to reach a certain place.
From the beginning I can say that the volunteer job description that was to occupy, was completely different from what they do. As far as I remember, the job description found himself something of a library administration in three languages (French, German and Luxembourgish), so I was not too excited.
Therefore when we read the activity agreement and saw the project description, I had what is called „second thoughts”, so I took courage, and although I was in a race against time to take the ticket and completion of formalities in Romania, I wrote the coordinator of the hosting Organization, and I asked about all the details of the activity that was to carry out: what percentage of each activity, as percent of my daily work involves working with vulnerable groups (children, elderly), and how much you work with immigrants. And well I did because I did not want to have regrets that I released something that did not fit my personality.
Project Coordinator patiently gave me all the details. What I found at the scene was beyond my expectations, that was supposed to be myself a creator of literature. In short, the association carries out cultural and artistic project which is called „Soirées Littéraires Millefeuilles” and which consists of regular meetings of people of different nationalities, most immigrants who come to display their artistic talents in a multicultural context. Each participant has the opportunity to present an artistic creation for 5-10 minutes or French mother tongue, which is the language of communication of this circle. Each meeting has a specific theme, urging the meditation: youth, freedom, religion, wine.
In addition, the association also unfolds a project called „Cuisine du Monde” in which people of different ethnic groups come to share their culinary recipes that enrich each culture. And this event is an opportunity for discussion and to make new friends.
My responsibility is to prepare these events, to update Facebook page, to promote and raise participants.
Interaction with institutional
One of the moments when I realized „the cultural shock” was when I had to sign the joint to get residency in the city.
When I went to the Foreigner Registration Office in Luxembourg, those of „common”, not knowing what is European voluntary, and believing that it is a work contract, I was sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, telling me that are given as Romanian citizen (for Romanian and Bulgarian nationals to apply special provisions in 2014), we need an official document of the MAI as they are ok even without an employment contract to be registered with the municipality. Here only students and Romanian citizens married to EU citizens are not subject to the provisions mentioned above must present a work contract.
I could not believe it: that is very familiar in Romania, sent from one institution to another, when you do not know how to handle a situation, repeated here!
At The Ministery, after waiting long time, I got to the guichet and I explained why I came. But it seems that here the notion of European Voluntarywas unknown to them , because they insisted on giving them employment contract, which is actually agreement signed by all three parties.
I questioned why officials from the Ministry do not have a standard procedure for European volunteers, for example other Romanians living in other cities in Luxembourg were not subjected to the same registration procedures. I explained very nicely that European volunteer between 18-30 is treated as the condition of student (19-25 years) and that the partnership agreement is a contract for work and if they want to accept it that’s fine, if not , that’s also fine:)
Eventually they understood, not even had to give me a document to certify my voluntary quality, but I think I was lucky because Romanians are EU citizens, because they put me on the road only for 3 days.
All well and good up here. What do you do in your spare time, when you have downtime? Well, if you’re single and do not really have money, maybe you lack inspiration. But when you are EVS volunteer and new in the city, with people like you, you want to taste life to the fullest! Luxembourg is a charming town that offers many opportunities to recreate in your spare time. EVS parties, concerts, meetings, trips to the movies, opportunities to meet new people and make your new friends are a lot.What greater joy is to walk freely around Europe. I didn’t travel a lot because I had a lot of projects, but there are EVS volunteers who go every weekend in Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, London, with the nonchalance with which students in the country go to see the sea.
So it is only the beginning, I hope I will enjoy it a lot until next year.
Adventure continues …