Hola! My name is Joana and I am from a little town near Barcelona. I met Open Cultural Center (OCC) while organizing a campaign to collect tents, sleeping bags, and warm clothes for refugees in Northern France.

I had always been involved in volunteering in my town, but after graduating in Design at university, I decided to travel to Calais (France), and volunteer in the front line with Help Refugees and l’Auberge des Migrants. When I left Calais winter was approaching and the conditions were getting rough. Along with some other people I met there, we organized #MusicBreaksBorders, a campaign to collect useful material in music festivals to send to Calais and Dunkirk.

One of the guys of the group had previously volunteered in Polykastro with OCC Greece and he suggested selling some copies of  “Amic Meu” as well. As I was the only one living in Barcelona, I went to the office of OCC in El Born to pick up the books and was introduced to the organization.

When some time later I had to find a place to do an internship for my Master’s Degree in Human Rights, Democracy, and Globalization, Open Cultural Center came to my mind. I applied, did an online interview, and began to work at OCC as an intern in February 2020.

Working at OCC gave me the opportunity to combine two of my passions; creativity and social transformation, therefore, when my internship finished and the possibility of staying as a European Solidarity Corps (ESC) volunteer appeared, I happily said yes.

At OCC, I mostly do graphic design, layout, photography, and video editing but I also support other tasks such as project writing, language classes for unaccompanied minors management, translation, and workshop and event organization.

One thing about volunteering in OCC is that lots of things are always happening at the same time so you are constantly thrown into new challenging situations. I love working in such a dynamic and intercultural environment which pushes you to improvise and be active all the time.

The best thing from this experience is, by far, the people I have met. From day one they welcomed me in and made me feel part of the family. I have learned, and keep learning,  a lot from each and every individual of this diverse, crazy, and amazing team. OCC is a place of safety, where people from very different backgrounds and cultures can meet and feel welcome. It is a unique community that inspires me greatly, and it has not been a day in the office without laughs.

2020 may seem like the worst year for most people and, it definitely has not been easy at all. However, this year I have been lucky enough to become part of OCC and I feel super grateful to have had the opportunity to meet the most amazing people who have filled my heart to the fullest.


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