Last Saturday, December 5th, was the international day of the volunteer. We reached out to the volunteering community in Iceland who shared with us their stories and experiences. Here is one of them:
Valeria’s volunteering experience
My name is Valeria and I was born in a small town in Sardinia, Italy.
At the moment I am in Iceland for an environment-related volunteer experience with SEEDS Iceland, thanks to the ESC project. I arrived in the Land of Fire and Ice on July 3, when it never got dark, and my project will end on December 21, the shortest day of the year with only 4 hours of daylight.
Iceland is an enchanting land and has been on the list of countries I dreamed of visiting for years, one of those places that attract you and make you feel at home, without knowing why. Well, in the case of Iceland you can imagine why it is a dream destination: glaciers ending in icy and immaculate beaches, giant mountains that hide villages immersed in fjords, dramatic landscapes, steep and rugged cliffs, majestic volcanoes, magnificent and massive canyons, amazing waterfalls and much more.
I love nature, I cannot imagine my life without access to it
As long as I can remember I’ve always loved spending time in the middle of nature. My personal goal is to make my contribution to protect the environment, compensate the damage caused to nature by humankind and to help people be more conscious about their behavior. I think this is the key reason that motivated me becoming an ESC volunteer with SEEDS Iceland.
SEEDS main activities are related to the promotion of environmental protection and awareness, intercultural understanding and peace through the work on social, cultural and environmental projects in Iceland.
My role here as a Camp leader and Environmental messenger is to lead workcamps where a group of volunteers live and work together generally between 9-14 days. During summer I had the chance to lead some projects with local hosts. These outdoor camps include nature conservation, environment protection, renovation and restoration activities for local communities and mostly happen outside Reykjavik, so they are also a way to explore and visit beautiful places. I will never forget the days spent in the Icelandic highlands, one of the most remote areas in Iceland with unearthly landscapes and picturesque mountains, or the unique experience to descent into the magma chamber of a dormant volcano during my first workcamp!
Since October, due to the cold weather, the camps take place in Reykjavik. Even during the dark winter there are many activities that we can do, and my main task is to develop workshops, group discussions, games, presentations etc… The capital city is even more magical dressed up in its white winter coat, with countless Christmas lights and dancing Northern Lights across the sky!
The best part of being here is having the chance to make me useful for a common goal that can improve people’s lives and environmental conditions.
I believe that the willingness to cooperate among people is the base of humanity: European Solidarity Corps aims to foster solidarity in European society, bringing young people together to build a more inclusive society.
I can say that travelling and volunteering is about people not places. I’m living with a group of amazing volunteers from all over the world and I am meeting a lot of brilliant people of all ages and backgrounds. Although we are different, coming from different countries with disparate cultures, languages, habits, beliefs etc. I always find something in common and I find that diversity enriches my life.
If I had to sum up this experience in one sentence, I would choose this quote:
"As a body everyone is single, as a soul never."