Volunteer’ stories – Michelle’s story

Greetings to all of you, my name is Michelle and I am a volunteering at Boys’ and Girls’ Club Wales (BGC) in Cardiff. It’s been almost two months since I moved here, with my fears and insecurities along for the ride.

At Cardiff Castle

Over the last few months, I asked myself, what should I do know? Am I doing something important with my life? Should I have chosen another bachelor’s degree instead? And then, to complicate these feelings even more, the world suddenly changed the pandemic was upon us and people were forced into a ‘lockdown’ and told to stay at home.

So I asked myself, how am I supposed to carry on with my life if the world seems to be on fire? The situation back in my home country of Spain was just impossible to handle, especially for young people as it started to affect my personal life. I remember that one day I was looking at stories about people who have volunteered or internships abroad and I asked myself why not? What do I have to lose?

And so that was the beginning of my Welsh adventure. I started applying for a few projects and got through to the interview stage but time after time, I was rejected. It made me feel even more lost as to what to do, and so I gave up. However, a few weeks passed and I told myself to keep trying otherwise I will never know what will happen and again asked myself, what do I have to lose?

“How am I supposed to carry on with my life if the world seems to be on fire?”

I fortunately got through to the interview process for BGC and after days of waiting, I heard great news: I was successful! They had decided to give me the chance to be a part of their project. Before I knew it, I found myself packing all my belongings and had started a new and (rather unexpected) experience.

Spain has been hit hard by Covid, and so the British Government decided to put a 14 days quarantine in place for anyone who enters the country from abroad.

This meant I spent 24/7 with strangers, who I am sure will eventually become my friends during my time here. At the beginning, almost everything was completely new but with patience and energy, I found that you can work through the challenges you face when living with new people. We already have had some issues related to housework. It is, in my point of view, mainly because of cultural manners besides our personal habits but I believed that we have now managed it properly.

I must say that one of my biggest concerns was the frustration of being in a new country and having fewer possibilities to meet new people or visit other cities in the UK because of Covid. But the people who I work with have been go good, and they make me feel so comfortable. In spite of the Covid situation, I am pretty sure I will enjoy this opportunity and will have the chance to meet some awesome people who may jsut become important friends for life. As well as making new friends, I can be 100% sure that I will improve my English language skills, among other skills, thanks to my role at BGC Wales.

BGC is a non-profit organisation where I work as a volunteer in the communication department, which was similar to my previous job in Madrid. I haven’t worked at BCG for very long but I believe it is always great to work in a different environment from ones you are used to.

So, if you are thinking about doing a European Solidarity Corps (ESC) or any volunteering programme, my advice would definitely be: “Do it, because you really have nothing to lose, only a world to discover”