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Emma is a Romanian volunteer, taking part in the European Solidarity Corps placement and currently living and working in Ireland, who wants to share her recent experience with you!


My name is Emma, and I am from Transylvania, Romania. My ESC (European Solidarity Corps) volunteer journey started at the end of September 2018, when I arrived to Dublin, Ireland.

Now or never

After finishing my studies and then working for a year back home, I decided to take a gap year and gain more experience, working and studying in a non-formal way. All I knew was that I really wanted to do this, and I finally said to myself: "Now or never!” It seemed like there was never going to be a better time for it – perfect!

I like challenges, and I’m not afraid of trying new things, and perhaps these are the most important qualities when considering volunteering or working abroad.

You don't need to be an experienced professional, instead just be open-minded and motivated! Will you be getting paid for your work? Yes, with a lot of life experience and things you would never learn at school or university - those are the most valuable lessons you can ever get.

Ireland, here I come

When I got accepted to the programme, and offered the opportunity to come to Ireland, I felt special and simply couldn't wait to go! I was looking forward to taking the flight and starting new adventure there. And Dublin didn’t disappoint - I had a warm welcome, not just in the house where I was supposed to live and the Volunteer Department, but also in the workplace. I am based in Depaul Ireland, and I get a lot of support every day from everyone in the office. They have made my stay very comfortable, and I really feel like a part of the team.

Volunteering – teaching and learning

It's quite hard to describe everyday life during my volunteering placement, because every day is different; challenging but equally I can say that I'm happy here. My job is about helping homeless people to feel visible, giving my time to help them, and trying to make them smile, even with little things. In this project, I have many different tasks, like translation or staff support, and the biggest part for me is organising and coordinating social activities for the residents, for example weekly pool tournament, Table Quiz, museum visits, football, etc. Keeping the residents busy is very important, because they can forget about everyday problems for a bit, and hopefully will be interested in staying engaged with the community. Most of the people I work with love those games, and they even taught me how to play pool, which I have never tried in my life before! It really makes them happy, so I tried, and it really is a lot of fun! I also enjoy playing football, although I am the only girl on the team.


Group of young people wearing European Youth Week t-shirts

Everyone said that if I get at least one person involved in the activities I’m organising, it will already be something. I am very positive about my job, and fortunately I always get more participants!

Volunteer life can be busy; I try to show new things to the residents using my own experience, but they constantly teach me as well; they change me!

Volunteering can offer fantastic opportunities to spend some time abroad, learn new skills and work on self-development by gaining tons of confidence, participating in a variety of activities, contributing to the local community and improving one’s language skills. And Irish accent can be challenging, trust me!

Volunteering means growing as a person and learning, so much learning – everybody should try it!


Emma Székely - Romanian European Solidarity Corps volunteer, working with Depaul Ireland in Dublin.


Thinking of volunteering and interested in similar opportunities? Have a look at the volunteering abroad webpage to learn what you can do, or register on the European Solidarity Corps Portal to start your adventure straight away!