This article has been written by our volunteer Melanie.

Starting an ESC experience was the best thing I could have ever done.

I started at OCC Barcelona as CodeWomen project assistant after my graduation from a higher federal college with no real working experience. Right from the start, everyone welcomed me warmly and didn’t treat me like an intern – they welcomed me in the team as a full member. 

I was given responsibility and trust. Through that I gained so much professional and social skills and experience. Additionally to the already international environment at work, I lived with three other ESC’s from different countries with whom I became good friends. During the whole year, I got the chance to discover a whole new culture and connected and built up good relationships with people from all around the world. 

During this whole journey, what stuck out to me the most was this respectful, trusting and friendly atmosphere in Barcelona and especially in the office. The level of professionality is quite high at OCC, just look at their website. In this one year, I learned what it meant to be a project manager / -assistant, what it means to work in a relatively small team and to work for a good cause (NGO). I did not only gain professional knowledge, I also got to know myself, what I want to do and who I want to be. Through hearing totally different life stories of people I met during my year, it was the first time that it was shown to me that I could really do anything. That failure is really nothing more than an experience and that you can start all over again and find your real passion. 

I can only recommend doing an ESC year in general, and even more at OCC. It broadens your horizon in a way that you can only get when you do something out of your comfort zone and it’s an experience where you not only get a lot of work related knowledge, you also get the chance to dive into new cultures.

Our volunteering program is funded by the European Union through European Solidarity Corps.


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