Between 2000-2005, I spent most of my time designing and implementing volunteer projects in South East Europe, mostly with SEEYN member organisations. Looking back, I learned much of what I know today about project management, communication across cultures, and practical peacebuilding in those years. And I learned important lessons about myself, the politics, history, sociology of the SEE region, and not least about how to turn dreams into plans. These competencies were sought-after in my first job with MS ActionAid Denmark in 2005-2007 (a large development NGO), and, after my university graduation as a Sociologist in 2011, in my current career at the UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning in Paris.
I think volunteering gave me a certain confidence, a critical sense, and an entrepreneurial approach. It helped me explore my potential as a human being: It taught me creativity and empathy. And it was a practical introduction to sociology, something which changed my understadning of the world. I have so many joyful memories from my volunteering. Memories of fun, freedom and creative chaos. I smile when I think of all the great things we did together then, the people I met, and how it made me who I am today.
Morten Sigsgaard, 36-years old, education specialist at UNESCO IIEP in Paris Note: I was involved in the conceptualization, fundraising and management of 10 projects: a summer university in Vukovar, Croatia; a volunteering campaign in Bulgaria, Macedonia and Serbia (2005); the production of a travel guide to Sarajevo, Bosnia; a Balkan storytelling camp at Roskilde Festival, Denmark; a study visit on gender to Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia (2004), Balkan culture bus tour in Denmark (2003); coordiantion of eight intervnational workcamps projects in Croatia (2002); Danish theatre festival in Serbia and Bosnia (2001), Danish film festival in Serbia, study visit to Serbia during elections (2000).