EAEA News 2008-03-06
Reflections from a volunteer
I was involved with EAEA from mid-August 2007 until the end of the year, so altogether a bit more than 4 months.
Because of working as a volunteer and having a part time job next to it, my working hours were rather irregular, but mostly one to two days a week, sometimes a half day and sometimes full days.
My motivation to the work at EAEA was the following:
I wanted to get an insight about the functioning of an international non-profit organization and the type of work it includes. With functioning I mean different aspects of the organization: how is it financed, what is the organizational structure, how does it achieve its goals. EAEA was especially interesting in that point, that it is quite a small organization concerning the number of people working for it, but at the same time it is very international (Europe-wide) and has offices in three different countries.
Therefore it has quite a slim organizational structure. It was impressive to see, how such a small organization can have quite a big effect on Adult Education in Europe as a whole, by creating chances for the national (partner-) organizations to network and even to influence educational policies, especially at EU level. It was a satisfactory experience for me to contribute to its works as a "small wheel".
My tasks included everyday items, like looking for news items to be put to the website and translating items of the website from English to German, as well as helping with bigger projects, like the organization of a congress in Riga, Latvia, with the topic "Equal Opportunities for All". I also took up a personal project, writing an "EU funding guide" for organizations that are not yet familiar with the funding opportunities of the EU. All in all, my tasks were quite versatile and interesting, considering the limited amount of time I was able to invest for the organization.
I also want to emphasize that I enjoyed the fact that I was taken as a part of the organization, being able to take part to internal events like the Christmas party. Apart from that, I had the opportunity to take part to various events/ conferences around Helsinki, in which EAEA or partner organizations were involved (e.g. the NILE conference, Adult education week dinner).
As a conclusion, I can say that my time at EAEA was an enriching experience that I can only recommend to others. I enjoyed the atmosphere at the EAEA-office in Helsinki and I believe that this voluntary work could possibly open professional opportunities for the future. So even if it doesn´t pay, it can still pay off!
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