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Non-Formal Learning Stories: How to Understand a Foreign Culture and Have the Time of Your Life?

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On July, 24th, 2021, Act Global held an online webinar. This time we will be having fun talking and sharing about “Learning Abroad Experiences”. Begawan Abiyasa and Noventy Tampubolon shared their story about what they have learned from their experience during their time abroad. Both of them are Act Global volunteers who have participated in European Voluntary Services (EVS).

Erasmus+ Volunteering activities help young people travel abroad to participate in volunteering projects. The programme was developed to promote mobility, solidarity, tolerance, active citizenship and mutual understanding amongst the young people of Europe. Opportunities are available in both Erasmus+ Programme countries and Neighbouring Partner countries – meaning that you can volunteer outside of Europe too.

As a volunteer, you commit yourself to the work of an organisation. Volunteering projects can involve many different kinds of activities in areas such as youth work, cultural activities, social care or environmental protection. Volunteering activities last a minimum of 2 weeks and a maximum of 12 months.

It is one of the European Commission’s fully-funded volunteering programmes. This means that all essential costs related to your volunteering project are covered. You will be provided with accommodation, board and any local transport that you may need. You may also receive a small amount of ‘pocket money’. All volunteers are covered by insurance during their time abroad too. To be eligible to join an Erasmus+ Volunteering project, you need to be aged between 18 and 30 years old (or 17 at the time of application).

Our volunteers, Begawan Abiyasa participated in EVS in Italy, and Noventy participated in EVS Job Shadowing activities in Portugal.

Abiyasa himself is enjoying his time as a volunteer. He has been active and involved in Act Global as a volunteer. Before joining the EVS program, he has been working as a volunteer at Act Global for approximately 5-6 months. He got the information about several events that are opening up opportunities to participate, namely music festivals in the UK for 3 weeks and volunteering in Italy for 3 months. At that time, he had a dilemma as to which program he had to choose and finally he decided to join the volunteering program in Italy for 10 months at Sardinia.

This is a huge thing for him. This volunteering program brought him to a place he had never imagined before. And this is Abiyasa’s first experience going somewhere different. With the opportunity given by Act Global, he was fulfilling his dream to go abroad.

He enjoyed working as a volunteer in Italy. All he needs to do is have fun and work with the host organization. His daily tasks are handling social media, making newsletters for schools, collaborating on projects with the host organization etc.

Sardinia is not a big city for Italy, and it is not surprising that sometimes the people he met do not know where Indonesia is, so during his time, he also told them how beautiful his country is. He is glad, he can present Indonesia to the world.

It does not take much time, Aby thinks he did the adapting process very well. He’s not feeling awkward saying hi and talking to the people he met or the travellers. However, at first, he was not used to the weather conditions.

Concluding what he had been through when he joined the EVS programs, he felt lucky. He thinks this kind of experience gives you a chance to learn new things and the chance to have a new family from a different country. Even though this program is over, Abiyasa still keeps in touch with friends he met while participating in EVS volunteering in Italy.

Noventy one of the volunteers of Act Global also had a similar experience. She participated in another program, Noventy took the chance to fly from Indonesia to Portugal to harvest the knowledge she has been waiting for.

Specifically, during her time in Portugal, she learned about the Job Shadowing Program. In essence, when you participate in this program, you’re staying in the “shadow” of an employee, you typically will follow an employee and observe them partaking in their day-to-day work. They might ask you to help with certain tasks, as well. Job shadowing is a useful way to learn about a particular job of interest.

Apart from the Job Shadowing Program, she is glad to meet people from many countries. She met roommates who came from Spain and Romania. Besides the main program, she participated in various activities, including outdoor activities in elementary school.

The other activity that she was involved in was a youth event. She joined the group to discuss employment issues. She said that the issue raises due to the many cases of layoffs, lack of decent work, and inappropriate wages in European countries.

The time in Portugal gave her lots of new things to learn. She underlined that we have to give respect to people’s opinions about something and try our best to understand them. Understanding each other was the first step to make everything better.

Not only Noventy and Aby shared their experiences, but during the sessions, some of the participants were also active in asking them about. Some participants asked about the biggest challenges when participating in the EVS and Job Shadowing programs.

Aby, who joined the EVS said that the biggest challenge when participating in EVS is the Language Barrier because many people do not speak English. This forced Aby to learn Italian and try to get along with other volunteer friends who can still communicate in English. Just like Abiyasa, Noventy also said that Language was the biggest challenge when participating in Job Shadowing activities.

Someone also asked,

“How to become an Act Global volunteer?”

Based on her experience Noventy answered, when she joined Act Global because she knew someone named Jerry who posted Act Global activities related to overseas programs. At that time, there happened to be an event held where there were contributions from people from Italy who shared knowledge on how to manage finances. In the end, Noventy was active in following and joining the classes and discussions held at Act Global. And from that moment on, she spoke with the members of Act Global, one thing let to another, she became a volunteer.

Right now, Act Global is still opening the volunteer program. You guys can participate in Act Now On Climate Change! Or volunteer on Teman Belajar. You can apply to be our volunteers by registering at indorelawan.org or linktr.ee/actglobal