michaela-ivs-officeWith limited funds, IVS relies heavily on the work of our amazing volunteers. We truly couldn’t do it without them and appreciate all they do. Here, Placement Officer volunteer Michaela blogs about her six months volunteering at our office in Edinburgh.

“Now, it’s time to make a little review of my six months at the IVS office in Edinburgh. I had never been to Scotland before, never worked for an NGO and I have never tried British food. All the three things have changed now.

“I was always very interested in different cultures, travelling and getting to know people from other countries. After my Bachelor in French-German Studies (very similar to European Studies) in Germany and France, I wanted to gain more intercultural and professional experience. I decided to take one year off to spend six months in Great Britain, three months in Italy and in France. It was very important for me to find an international organisation and to get the chance to use my further experiences in other countries. When I was looking for internships in Great Britain, I found the IVS website and started to inform myself about IVS. I was really keen to work for IVS because it connected the aspects of an international organisation with values such as peacekeeping, social, environmental, anti-discrimination aims and understanding between people from different countries.

“I was really happy when I was accepted for an internship at IVS and took the airplane to arrive in Edinburgh at the end of August. When I started the work, I knew it would be a very interesting experience for me. Jackie helped me with everything and explained to me the IVS-SCI world. I got the chance to work in different areas such as administration, Marketing & Publicity and Projects (applications, visits,…). I also went to several fairs which were very interesting to meet young people and inform them about volunteering opportunities. One of the most interesting experiences during my internship was the SCI meeting in Ireland. It was exciting for me to see the whole dimension of SCI and to meet people from different SCI braches. On one evening, we had a little party and I realised that people from such different cultural, social and religious background were together in one room without discrimination, fears or misunderstanding. People from Bangladesh, Germany, Serbia, France, Americans and Japanese were dancing together to Indian music! At this moment, I thought that despite all the problems and troubles in the world, it is possible to cooperate and to bring people together and I was happy to be part of it.

“During my internship, I learned so many new things about volunteering, PR & Marketing, organisation skills, IVS and I met lots of interesting people in the office, from the projects and in my free time. I enjoyed working with people from different countries, learning something about their culture and about their way of thinking. I found friends from France, Spain, Moldova, Pakistan, Sweden, Scotland, Sri Lanka and Croatia…that was a real intercultural experience and I am sure that I will stay in touch with them!

“After my one-year break, I will take master classes in European Studies or International Politics. I am sure that the IVS experience will help me for my future!

“I would like to thank everyone from the IVS office and all the members for their interesting feedback and questions.

“Good luck!”

Michaela Christmann