+38970 699 743 +38978 248 503 sumnalb@yahoo.com

THE END OF AN INCREDIBLE EXPERIENCE

The volunteering in Macedonia came to an end. After three months in this amazing country, I can say that the city of Bitola and its people will always be in my heart, because if there is something that defines this country, it is the hospitality of the human beings that shape their society. An aspect that has pleasantly surprised me, breaking again the stereotypes marked by the absurd and hypocritical society that surrounds us, stereotypes that I hate and will always hate, and that I have been breaking one by one throughout the 41 countries that I have visited until now. Without a doubt, I have very good friends from this experience, real people, who are going to continue to be in my day to day life, but in a slightly different way due to the distance. People I appreciate, love and have a special affection for. I have always thought that your origin, your race, your skin color does not matter, none of this matters and it never will. What truly matters is the person and what it transmits to you.

It seems like yesterday when I landed at Skopje airport, with a sea of questions about this project and the country. But little by little those questions were answered, finding many answers. After spending 12 weeks in this country I can say that I know its culture, its traditions, its cities, its nature and of course its gastronomy, aspect that is important to highlight, since I was very pleasantly surprised. In turn, I can indicate that I know a lot more about Europe, because I have been able to visit all the neighboring and not-so-neighboring countries of Macedonia at this time. The adventures lived in Albania, Greece, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Turkey, are already stored in my memory. An infinity of sunsets and sunrises that make this experience unique. While it is true that I did not expressly volunteer to travel and get to know those countries, it has been a plus that has given a great leap of quality to this volunteering program. It made me understand a little better the history of the former Yugoslavia and the history of each country visited. Thus, I was able to understand the reason for many things.

The experience with children has been very enriching, since we worked every day on different aspects related to their education. The ability to organize activities and improvise to modify them according to the number of children we had and the demands that were given, have allowed me to improve my way of leading and teaching a class. Although it is true that the limitation of having a different language has not allowed me to develop everything I wanted to put into practice. In a way, speaking a different language has been a problem when communicating with students, since it often depended on our coordinator to transmit the information we wanted to provide or what we wanted to achieve with each activity. But of course, this is something you know when you go to a country different from yours, knowing that it is impossible to learn Macedonian in just a few months.

In relation to the classes taught in Spanish, I have to say that it has meant taking fluency and experience when teaching Spanish. It was the first time that I was exposed to give this kind of classes, since I had previously given lessons in primary, secondary and university, but never in a different language and to people of such advanced age, teaching my first language. I was used to dealing with children or teenagers, but not with adult people. Thanks to this volunteering, I now know that it is an option that I do not rule out for my professional future, since at all times I was very comfortable and enjoyed them very much. An aspect that I am thankful for, largely, to the environment that was created due to my work and my students. In turn, the need to speak in English and Spanish with my students has led me to acquire a better written and spoken vocabulary, because I had to prepare the classes to teach in another language than mine.

The various workshops held throughout the volunteering and the experience carried out a few days in another Sumnal center in Skopje, have allowed me to understand a little better and in first-hand the reality of the Roma society in this country by having a closer relationship with them and allowing me to know the parents of some students a little more. That is why I want to express that this volunteering program has met almost all the expectations and objectives set at the beginning.

Finally, I would like to indicate that I would have loved to extend my stay in this country, spending more time doing this volunteering, but for reasons related to the project and the visa, this was not possible. What I want to indicate with this is that from the first moment I have been very comfortable, always feeling at home. That is why I would like to thank all the people I have met here, since they have had an influence to a lesser or greater extent in my learning and experience. Wherever I am, I will have a home for you, because in a way I would like to return all the love received. A very big hug for all of you, thank you.