Marica, Khadija, and Francesco, our European Solidarity Corps volunteers in the IYNF office, took part in their Midterm Meeting from 4th to 7th June 2021, which was organized by the Centre for International Cooperation in Education (Czech National Agency for Erasmus+ Youth and European Solidarity Corps).

13 European Solidarity Corps volunteers, working from different parts of Czech Republic, coming from Italy, Spain, Turkey, Croatia,Serbia, Azerbaijan, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Finland managed to reconnect online again for four days and shared how their volunteering experience is going, their future challenges and plans as European Solidarity Corps volunteers. The coordinators were Katka Martínková, Bára Rodi, from Czech Republic, and Robert Furiel from Slovakia. They managed to cover every topic in a very interactive and inspiring way throughout the four days.

The main purpose of the Midterm Evaluation Meeting was to meet one more time with the other European Solidarity Corps volunteers working in Czech Republic, discuss how their volunteering experience is going so far, as well as reflect and evaluate it. However, the volunteers had the chance to know more about some future Erasmus+ opportunities, such as the “Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs” initiative.

Marica, European Solidarity Corps Volunteer

“Since the On Arrival Meeting ended, I hoped and thought that the Midterm Evaluation Meeting was going to be held in presence but unfortunately, even this time I had to meet the other European Solidarity Corps volunteers through Zoom. During the meeting, what I appreciated most was the fact that I could share and discuss my volunteer experience and see how it was going so far. Doing that, I had the chance to understand that I really like volunteering for IYNF because it is giving me a lot of opportunities to grow professionally and personally but above all to become more independent within the working environment. 

The parts of the Midterm Evaluation Meeting that I really enjoyed were three. Firstly, I had the great opportunity to facilitate a 30 minutes open discussion about cinema with another European Solidarity Corps volunteer and take part in a workshop about the history of LGBTQIA+ rights. It was very insightful and inspiring for me because I didn’t know much before that. Secondly, the workshop about how to brainstorm a Mini Project idea: since I am doing one, I found the help I needed to know if my idea was doable or not and how I could modify it somehow. Thirdly, the moment when the coordinators told us about what could be some future opportunities related to Erasmus+ we could take to fulfill our professional needs. It was very interesting to know that there are plenty of websites and Erasmus+ projects that I had never heard of before and now I’m considering. 

Overall, the Midterm Evaluation Meeting was nice because I could meet the European Solidarity Corps volunteers again but also discover more things about my volunteering project and what to expect for my future career.”

Khadija, European Solidarity Corps Volunteer

”We have good memories and new knowledge from the 4-day Midterm Evaluation Meeting.

On one day of the meeting, participants were given a chance to be facilitators. I participated in public speaking, travel guide and dumpster diving workshops facilitated by the participants. I once tried to practice Dumpster Diving. I didn’t realize where we were going, but I was surprised at the end. It was a completely different and new experience for me, although our attempt wasn’t successful. And in the meetingI had a chance to learn the main purpose and the useful sides of Dumpster Diving, which I experienced blindfold.

One of the things I liked about the meeting was the section where we evaluated what we were satisfied and dissatisfied with during our volunteering. I had the opportunity to express my dissatisfaction with the fact of my visa prolongation process and the disadvantages of online language courses.
The information about the steps in organizing a mini-project were very interesting, and I am sure that many participants were helped in this way.
I liked the fact that the facilitators managed the meeting in a well-organized way and gave freedom to the participants.

At each of these meetings On-arrival training and Mid-term Evaluation Meeting, I understand better what I know: I am very lucky with my host organization and team.”

Francesco, European Solidarity Corps Volunteer

“The Mid-Term meeting was a 4 day online meeting organised by the National Agency with some of the European Solidarity Corps Volunteers that are in Czech Republic right now.

Because it was roughly half way through my experience with IYNF, it was a good chance to evaluate what I have done so far, and get some good tools to make the most of the 8 months that I have left here. 

After catching up a bit with the other volunteers, the floor was ours for most of the sessions, where we were split in breakout rooms and had to do most of the talking, as opposed to the On-Arrival meeting, where the trainers did most of the work.

In these four days, I received some new methods that can help me evaluate my learning, both personally and here at IYNF. Seeing and categorizing what I have learned so far, helps me put into perspective what I want to learn before the end of this experience. 

An important part of the Solidarity Corp Volunteering program is the mini-project, that the volunteer organises independently after working and agreeing on a proposal with the organisation that they work for. Thinking about a draft for the mini-project was personally really hard for me, but during the training we learned ways that we can filter-out our ideas to see if they are actually doable, if they align with the morals of the organisation and other different criteria, which will help me a lot during the drafting process. 

In general, the meeting was useful, we had the opportunity to catch up with the people we met in February and meet a couple of new volunteers, reflect about our learning and receive some feedback and help with some of the issues we have or have had during the past four months.”