Experiencing ESC volunteering in and out of lockdown

Emma Krasznahorkai comes from Hungary. She was a European Solidarity Corps volunteer with Slovene Philanthropy from September of 2020 to October of 2021, she worked at the Daily Centre for Migrants in Ljubljana.

Do you think you experienced Slovenia fully in these 13 months?

In the first 6 months I experienced Slovenia in lockdown, but after that I did my best to explore it and go to as many places as I could.

Did you have any expectations before you came?

Maybe I thought that Slovenian language would be a little bit easier and that I could put more effort into learning it (laughs).

When you look back, how was your experience?

I have mixed feelings. The first half was amazing, everything was new and I loved talking to people who came to the Daily Centre – but then it became a routine. I also realised that talking to people 8 hours per day is too much for me … but that’s a good realisation for my future in general. Besides that, my experience at Slovene Philanthropy was amazing and I really like all the people who work here.

What would you point out as your favourite memory or thing that happened during your stay?

There were many small moments and stories … I liked Tuesdays at the Daily Centre, because that day is meant for women and children, I also had many interesting talks about Islam and Quran. It was really nice to meet refugees and migrants from Africa, because the focus is usually on people from the Middle East – that really expanded my horizons.

What will you miss most about Slovenia?

The nature! I didn’t even know I love nature so much before coming here, but I will really miss it. When you go for a walk, you see the Alps and everything is beautiful around you. The calmness.

I also think people in Slovenia have a much stronger social network and social system than we do in Hungary. Here, one bad thing happens, but the web or the system will catch you – in Hungary, when the same happens, it has a domino effect. I will miss that about Slovenia as well. I know the system is slow and full of unnecessary bureaucracy, but it exists.

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