My name is Augustin François, I’m a 23-year-old intern in Asociatia EIVA, and I participated in a program called Stage Monde offered by my region in France, Bourgogne Franche-Comté. This opportunity consists of an internship abroad of 3 to 5 months paid by the region in France.
Thanks to this opportunity, I was able to come back to Arad, Romania, where I previously did voluntary service with the European Solidarity Corps. I wanted to come back to this country because I loved the time I was there and I think it’s a really great opportunity for me on both a professional and a personal level.
I joined the team of EIVA that I already knew a little bit, as a web developer and communication and project manager. My tasks were to first recreate the website of EIVA and work on the SEO, to work on digital communication, help to create posts and stories for the social media and finally, to participate in the project of the association, accompany the volunteers and participate in different projects abroad.
My role in Eiva was versatile. It allowed me to see a lot about the organisation of such a structure and how we can apply to European projects and volunteer.
I spent six months in Romania as a volunteer from September 2020 until March 2021.
I am really grateful for this experience as it was in a way my first step into the world of youth opportunities to travel and work. Before coming to Romania for the first time, I didn’t know anything about this country.
I wanted to go somewhere else with the sea or something, but Romania had been presented to me and I decided to follow this opportunity. I met incredible people there, I saw beautiful landscapes and gorgeous castles, I discovered some parts of Romanian culture and philosophy, and most of all, this first trip allowed me to discover many things about myself.
That’s why I wanted to go back there. I felt that I only scratched the surface of Romanian culture, there is more for me to discover here and I want to see it. One of my goals in life is to get wiser. In this way, I have to travel to see how people think on the other side of the world. But I can’t go abroad just for a few days of holidays. I have to live there so that I get a real idea of how people think and act according to their cultures. An opportunity like a Stage Monde is a perfect opportunity for me to travel, get new skills and knowledge so that I get closer to my goal.
Among the people I met, there was the association EIVA. This was the place I was volunteering in, I met other volunteers and the team of EIVA. I knew that I could work with them and that it would be very interesting for me and I could be useful to them as well with my skills.
While I was a volunteer, I met great people, Anjely and Roxana. At the end of the volunteering, we made a promise to see each other again. That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to come back, because I knew that I could see them again and work with them as we are a great team.
In this way, I wanted to join them to do an internship, to offer my skills, to get new knowledge of how European projects work, and how to manage them. I can be a communication manager, a web-developer and a project manager. I already knew the organisation, so coming here for me would be interesting as I don’t have to meet the team, I can directly meet new people to create a network and find new opportunities for me.
This internship is a perfect opportunity for me to travel, and to meet people not only from Romania, as EIVA continues to host volunteers from Europe, and participate in Erasmus projects. By coming here, I am able to discover many things on a personal and a professional level.
Asociatia EIVA is an association that hosts volunteers from Europe, to manage non-formal education activities with children with disabilities. When I first came to Romania, it was as a volunteer, so my tasks were to do this kind of activity. When I returned, it was as an intern in project management, communication and web development. In this way, my tasks changed and were more related to my field of work.
Indeed, I studied web development, communication and project management for 2 years. I was happy to be able to find this kind of field of activity while still living abroad with foreigners coming in my association.
I made a graphic overhaul of the website of the association, and I saw how it is to work with a graphic designer as a team. He designs and I implement. In this way, I improved my teamwork and my knowledge on how to work in a company.
I had the chance to meet new contacts and to learn new skills such as programming languages (C#) that will allow me to continue living in Romania. All the work I did on the EVA website was really interesting, as well as I could get back to the skills that I knew before but that I didn’t use for a few years. It was a good reminder for me and a good time to practice.
I met people that can help me find jobs and participate in an active life in Romania. Coming here allowed me to find what I want to do with my life. I want to stay abroad, to travel and to improve myself in every way possible. I think that the contact and the skills that I am learning here will really be useful for me in the future.
I had the chance to participate in some European projects which allowed me to travel to Spain, Italy and Georgia. These experiences were really interesting, I could discover the world of Erasmus activities.
First, I went to Madrid for the Vosotros project, which is a project that aims to study and to measure the effect of volunteering among eight European countries. For this project, I went for a study visit in Madrid with Coordinadora, a Spanish association for volunteers, for a few days. We split into teams and this allowed me to talk with new people and to increase my international network. In Rome, I was able to see some of the people that I met in Madrid again as it was the same project but in Italy this time with the association CSV Lazio.
Then, I had the chance to participate as a member of the Romanian team at a Youth Exchange in Georgia. This trip was probably one of the best experiences that I have had in my life. For almost two weeks, I was among 40 youths in a foreign country to work on the topic of environmental change and active citizenship. I wasn’t expecting this experience to be so emotional and to become so close to many people from different countries. More than a network, I made friends. We had interesting activities, hikes and games to learn in a non-formal way, things about the topics of the Youth Exchange. At night, we used to gather with the participants of the Exchange to party and have some informal time to get to know each other better and to learn about their cultures and identity.
All of those experiences abroad allowed me to improve myself, my skills and my way of thinking. I learn a lot of knowledge and soft skills thanks to this kind of opportunity and I can only advise anyone that has these opportunities to do it. It’s a beautiful tool made for young people that allows people to live life-changing experiences.
Before coming to Romania, I felt that I wasn’t doing anything with my life. I felt overwhelmed by everything that was happening in my life and didn’t know what way to take. I decided to come back to this country that I loved and where I had a really great time. I didn’t really know what to expect from this experience, but I knew that it would be positive anyway, that I would learn a lot and that I would be able to experience many things.
In all these ways, I was right. I loved the time that I spent there, I gained a lot of knowledge and confidence for the future of my life. I want to stay here to continue working in this field with the people I met.
Here, I found a way to follow, I made the choice of staying here to continue. I still don’t know what will happen, but with all the experiences that I have had here, I think that I’m ready to face anything that would happen.
I would like to thank EIVA’s team, Anjely, Roxana and Cristian, for welcoming me for this project. They really helped me and accompanied me through the process of this internship. I would also like to thank the program Stage Monde from France which allowed me to go abroad like this and gave me this need to continue travelling.