Volunteering

Volunteering help young people to become active citizens and to take an active role in their lives and in their communities.

What we do for ESC volunteers?

  • We host international volunteers in Constanta
  • We send Romanian volunteers to other countries

What is ESC?

  • ESC stands for European Solidarity Corps and is an EU Programme to support international (and national) volunteers

What is the duration of a volunteering program?

  • short term volunteering – up to 2 months
  • long term volunteering – 2 to 12 months

From which countries do we accept applications for ESC volunteering?

Any country:
  • Are you a foreigner (non-Romanian citizen) and want to volunteer with us? Apply here!
  • Are you a Romanian and want to volunteer in Romania through ESC? Apply here!
  • Are you a Romanian and want to volunteer internationally (EU and beyond) through ESC? Apply here!

What if I am a local and just want to carry out volunteering work in Constanta, without enrolling to the ESC?

  • Please apply here!

What our volunteers do for the community in Constanta?

  • Non-formal education in public and private kindergartens, primary schools, secondary schools, highschools, vocational schools, universities, etc.

For institutions in Romania

Are you an institution and want to invite our volunteers to deliver non-formal education? Apply here!

For individuals 

Have you already attended or do you intend to attend our non-formal education classes delivered by our volunteers? Please register here and stay in touch with us. BE YOUR OWN LEADER PROJECT

Our current volunteers

Änne: I am 23 years old and come originally from the northern part of Germany. A few things about myself: I made an apprenticeship as a tailor, worked as an intern for a fashion designer and an art museum, am interested in different cultures and countries and love hiking and the mountains. When I found this project I knew it would be an adventure I would like to embark on. [ap_divider color=”#CCCCCC” style=”solid” thickness=”1px” width=”100%” mar_top=”50px” mar_bot=”50px”] Laura: I am an 18 year old girl from the South of Germany – Bavaria. After finishing high school this year, I decided to travel the world and was searching for new adventures. When I found this project, I decided to apply and I am glad that I can be here and enjoy this experience in the beautiful Constanta. [ap_divider color=”#CCCCCC” style=”solid” thickness=”1px” width=”100%” mar_top=”50px” mar_bot=”90px”] Lison: I am a 21 year-old student in Sociology, later specialized in the gender studies.

I come from France, the southern part, near Toulouse (known as the “pink city”). I took this year off because I wanted (and needed) more experience on the field and this project was close to what I intend to do after I graduate, that is to say act with non-formal education towards the young people.

[ap_divider color=”#CCCCCC” style=”solid” thickness=”1px” width=”100%” mar_top=”50px” mar_bot=”65px”] Sara: I am 21 years old, and I come from the North coast of Spain. After studying a degree in mathematics for two and a half years, I decided to drop off and to take a gap year and live some new experiences. That’s how I found out about this great opportunity and I decided to get onboard. [ap_divider color=”#CCCCCC” style=”solid” thickness=”1px” width=”100%” mar_top=”50px” mar_bot=”65px”] Silvia: I am 25 years old and I graduated in March in Diplomacy and International Cooperation. I studied in Italy, where I come from: I was born in Como and spent the last six years in Trieste, at the border with Slovenia. After graduation I decided I wanted to leave with the ESC and join the project here in Constanta to grow personally, learn and gain as much as possible from this experience. [ap_divider color=”#CCCCCC” style=”solid” thickness=”1px” width=”100%” mar_top=”50px” mar_bot=”65px”] Sven: I am 28 years old and live in the Netherlands. After graduating from International Business & Languages I have been searching how to be of service to others while improving my own particular skills and I was glad to find this project in this country with full of potential. [ap_divider color=”#CCCCCC” style=”solid” thickness=”1px” width=”100%” mar_top=”50px” mar_bot=”65px”] Guillaume : I am 20 yeas old, I come from a little town in north of France, just near to Belgium. I achieved an International Trades diploma and i wanted to take a break in my study for develop my skills in different domain. I also wanted to discover Romania, a country really different from mine. I am really happy to live in Constanta which is a beautiful city. [ap_divider color=”#CCCCCC” style=”solid” thickness=”1px” width=”100%” mar_top=”50px” mar_bot=”80px”]

Latest volunteering activities

DISCOVERING ROMANIA – January 2020

Paperwork, paperwork…

Before going on a one-week trip, we spent the 2 first weeks of January doing paperwork at the University. This break from the schools allowed us to take the time we needed to finish all the reports, prepare the next activities, organize our work for the next weeks. As the project ends soon, it was also the time for us to debrief in group about what we’ve done so far and have a reflexion over our role as volunteers in Constanta. Sven wrote a blog article summing up our thoughts here: https://trainingclub.eu/our-purpose/ Writing all the reports for the schools enabled us to see concretely what has been done and analyzing all the feedback from the students comforted our position. We sometimes had doubts over our methods and we constantly re-evaluated our work to make it better the next times. Thanks to the feedback we received daily, we could adjust the topics so it could be relevant for everyone. In that way, we tried to keep a track by always listening to the demands and not loose sight of our purpose.  

Culture, culture…

After 2 weeks reflecting over our work and preparing our come back to the schools, we decided to go on a one-week trip with the days off we had to discover the country. It was very important for us to be able to do that travel because we absolutely wanted to see more of Romania. Living in Constanta was a first experience but we wanted to see by ourselves what Romania could offer us. And we were not disappointed.  We travelled through Sinaia, Brasov, Sibiu and Sighisoara. What stroke us after this one-week trip was the difference with Constanta. When we first arrived in the city, we were surprised by the buildings left abandoned and thought it was a shame considering all the potential the city has: the Cazino, the beach, the harbor. When we travelled in Transylvania, the landscape was completely different: colored buildings, historical houses well renovated. We thus wondered why Constanta was left behind.  However, we fell in love with Transylvania. We realized how lucky we were to discover a country that, in our respective ones, is not often considered for what it is. We could feel the mix of culture and the influence of a culture over a city and felt belonging to the place. Culture… . Culture says history, tradition, transmission, respect, adaptation. Something that one can share and that is thus way bigger than us, yet specific to each.

Back to work!

After this amazing and enriching trip, we came back to work with the secondary school and the military high school. As the project is ending soon, we knew it was our last activity, at least with the High School. We thus decided to work on stereotypes and clichés one could have over a country. Let’s say that it’s a final reflexion, even for us. And it was pretty relevant for everyone. We realized that the stereotypes are often from only one part of the country. For example, in France, 90% of the time the clichés comes from Paris (luxury, fashion, love, monuments). It is not surprising as the French themselves are divided on that question ; in France we say that there is Paris, and then the rest of France, because Paris always played an important role in the French culture… to a point where people from Paris did not consider « the rest of France » as important as the capital.  It is for these reasons that we thought important to do that workshop. Students were completely receptive and very involved in the activities. It was a real pleasure to deliver this last workshop because we felt a connexion between the students and us, something we didn’t feel before. Of course, something connected us: culture. This is when we realized that Culture does not make us different but brings us together. 

AROUND PROBLEM SOLVING – November & December 2019 At the beginning of our voluntary work, we’ve been told that we would create monthly activities and do monthly reports. Whereas it worked for October, it completely changed in November and December because we had to come back from one week to the next one in the same classes as some teachers wanted us to come back as soon as possible. At the beginning of the month, the Naval High School asked us to work on something around problem solving. As we wanted to collect some results at the end, we decided to do it with all the students. We thus met our managers to talk about the way we could deliver the workshops.

ABOUT THE WORKSHOPS

1- Classic problem solving workshop The first workshop we worked on was a problem solving activity around the city of Constanta with the students from the Maritime University. As the workshops passed, we realized that it would be too complicated for the students in High Schools to do it so we drew the conclusion that we would do the same thing but at High School level. 2- Improve your High School As we asked the University students to follow the 7 steps of problem solving, we simplified the instructions:
  • think about your High School
  • think about what you could improve
  • create a slogan for your ideas
  • present it to the whole group
They could write or draw anything they wanted. As for the « social media platform » workshop, we just gave them a big blank paper and let their creativity speak. We told them to take this activity quite seriously because we could do something with it like making reports for the schools and let them know what the pupils think about their school, as we understood that no students representatives are elected to take part in the council. This is why this activity meant something to us as well as we knew we could do more than just doing an activity. Although, we thought it wouldn’t work for the Military High School. That’s why we came up with the third activity. 3- Redesigned problem solving workshop As for the University students, we first proposed a classic problem solving activity but everything was based on dialogue between the students and us. At the end of the activity, we knew we had to find a better solution because students were usually very shy and the results were not what we had expected. 4- The dumbest idea We thus worked on something funnier but still around problem solving. We found this activity while searching for inspiration on the Internet and thought it would be good as we were asked to make the students work on problem solving. However, the activity was also based on discussion to go where we wanted it to go. Here are the instructions:
  • find the dumbest solution for the following problem: « Homeless animals », « Plastic in the ocean » or « Global warming »
  • present your idea to the whole group
  • after the presentations, discuss about your ideas and how you could make it a bit more realistic
As we tried it at home, we knew we would have to make the students talk. Despite that it was pretty hard to communicate (mostly because they were really shy), the results were pretty good. We also found that it was way easier for students to be creative when there was no blockage caused by trying to create a perfect solution. 6- The Human Knot Together with « The Dumbest Idea », the Human Knot would introduce the problem solving theme through a fun way. The game  is simple:
  • form a circle with the others
  • take the right hand of somebody else
  • when together is tight by the right hand, take the left hand of somebody different than the one you are already tight with.
  • untangle without breaking the chain.
This game was a clear success. Pupils had to take initiatives to untangle themselves and find the best solution to solve the problem. This way pupils were energized to do the other activity and were introduced to the theme of the workshop. 7- Quiz Finally we created a quiz about our countries as well as Romania and Constanta. We had 2 versions : short, so we had time to do another activity after, and long for the 2 hour- workshops. This was a way for the pupils to get to know us and our countries better and to get to take a look at their own country through our perspective. Our perspective consisted out of what we had experienced and learned in Constanta in the previous months as well as what we had found in tourist guides and on the internet. 8- « The Passport Game » and « Make your own story » We created these workshops especially for the 6th graders we saw twice. As they are younger, we focused more on the entertainment than on the problem solving activities. The first game was about exchanging blank ‘passports’, which contained several questions about ones personality. The game consisted out of multiple rounds. Each round, music was played. While the music was being played, the pupils had to walk around the room and keep exchanging papers with each other. Once the music stopped the pupils had to fill in one of the questions on the passport of a fellow classmate and in order to do so they had to either examine or communicate with them. In the end the pupils had to read the passports out loud so it could be revealed whether the students could find out whose passport was being read. The second game consisted of coming up with a story according to a situation (ex.: escape from a deserted island), a superpower (ex.: you can be as elastic as you want), and 3 objects from the classroom. This last activity was a fun way for them (and for us) to approach the problem solving theme we followed these 2 months.

ABOUT THE RESULTS

Regarding all the activities we came up with and the feed backs, one can conclude two things. We have made 2 conclusions after conducting the activities that we had created. Firstly, having to deal with a predetermined scope of the activity (for example problem solving) caused a feeling for us of not 100% owning and therefore supporting the activity, as we were not fully intrinsically convinced that the activity would work on the students. Nevertheless, we decided to follow the « problem solving » theme for the other schools to be sure we would have a cohesion in the result. That’s why we created so many activities around « problem solving »:although none of them, except the « Improve your high-school », were good enough for us. We tried to let them express their creativity, as it is the best way for us to work with them. Despite our efforts to make it work, it never worked as well as the first activity of October, that is to say the « Perfect Social Media Platform » workshop. The second thing one can notice from these 2 months is that students would like to play more games, such as « The Human Knot » and to talk more with us, according to the feedback. In October, we had free rein for the theme and the way we would like to work. We knew the way we proposed the workshop could fit all the classes from all the schools, and it worked really well. For the upcoming activities, we will have to combine the demands so we could have « carte blanche » again, play more games as the students required, and work with the teachers to agree on a theme.

THE PERFECT SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM – October 2019 This first month of the project was dedicated to our first workshop over social media platform. We decided to work on social media for several reasons. The first one was because we didn’t know the youngsters we were going to meet, therefore we needed something “neutral” to begin with them. Secondly, social media seem to be a big deal for traditional media (and for some people as well…) especially when it comes to the young generation and their supposed “addiction” to them. It was thus interesting to talk about it through an artistic way. The activity was simple: we asked them to imagine, in groups, an original social media platform, something that does not exist yet. To do that, we made their mind started with an interactive question via menti.com (What is attractive to you about social media?) and then, we split them into groups. After few minutes of reflection, they had to write some words or create a logo/layout on an A3 paper we gave them in the beginning. After 25/30 minutes, each group had to present their work to the whole class and then, vote for the best one except their own. After dividing the collected works into categories, I made some statistics and here are the results among 70 works:
  • 21% are originals (that go deeper than chatting or listening to music while chatting)
  • 10% are specifics (over a particular topic)
  • 29% concern social links (chatting, listening to music while chatting, etc)
  • 30% “others” (the ones that didn’t fit any of the quoted categories)

So what do these drawings show about the relation youngsters have with the actual society?

To begin with, it is important to define the words we use. For that, I will borrow the definition of social media of Hang-Sub Choi in his article “The young generation and their social media”. He states that “social media can be defined as the collective online communication platforms dedicated to maintaining human relationships and interactions via “sharing. The most profound function of social media is to link people”. Therefore, it is not surprising that among all the works, 29% focus on the social link by creating something that connects people with each other. Moreover, the menti question already led their mind towards connection and communication, especially with their friends. It is what traditional media say so far about the social media: they stimulate the hyper-connection, hyper-communication because the youngsters keep being connected with each other. It is true, in a way. But let’s put things into their context. Society evolved through times, from modern to post-modern and for some authors, to hyper-modern which means that social links have evolved as much as economy, demography, politics, everything that makes a society. Moreover, we are going towards a future where technology will be essential and youngsters already understood it. We are here to improve critical thinking skills among the young generation and we thought that letting them express themselves through an artistic way could lead to an actual improvement. As we didn’t expect, pupils have more to say that we could imagine. We just have to let them have the space and time to do so. Among all the works over a social media platform, we have been surprised to see that more than 20% of them went further than what we asked (imagining the perfect social media platform), even more when we unintentionally led their mind towards the “communication/connection” side of social media with a question and an example.  But why is it interesting? The percentage of these works does not represent an extreme part of what we saw but a general tendency in all the groups from different classes, from different schools. Concerning the works themselves, they are “original” in the way that they aim to benefit to everyone using communication with each other. I could find 3 categories:
  • Help saving the environment
  • Spread knowledge
  • Help people that are suffering (from depression, from school)
As I said, all these “original” works are about sharing and communicating, but it is part of the human being to feel connected in order to not feel isolated and these youngsters use the social media as a tool and not an end in itself. They have all the resources they need to think about the actual society, they know the challenges society has to face. In order to improve critical thinking skills, we just have to give them the opportunity to express themselves and think together because the works we collected are just about that and the results speak for themselves. In conclusion, we’ve been surprised by the creativity of the youngsters, even more when we looked closer to all the works. We didn’t expect such enthusiasm and great ideas they came with. But it is when the results do not fit expectations that it’s the most interesting because it raises questions about something bigger than just the workshop. We thus realized that we didn’t have to anticipate the results or create a new workshop according to our expectations, we just have to propose the workshop and wait to see what the youngsters have to say about it. We just have to give them the opportunity to speak for themselves. [ap_divider color=”#CCCCCC” style=”solid” thickness=”1px” width=”100%” mar_top=”20px” mar_bot=”20px”]