Humans have a strange habit of assuming certain outcomes or creating expectations for how things are going to happen. Before arriving to Sardinia, I had this idea in my head of how it will play out and I am happy to say, I had no clue of the adventure ahead. Hi, I’m Elise and this habit is the foundation of self-reflection and the story of my ESC Teams Volunteering experience.
When I signed up to do a Teams Volunteering experience with the European Solidarity Corps and Associazione TDM 2000, I already envisioned the outcome- improving team work skills, learning conflict management and so on. And, although it is very true- I noticed improvements in these aspects and had a fun time working in a team, the unexpected outcomes ended up being the highlight of my experience.
For example, I learned that to functionally work in a team, you have to not only respect others but also yourself and your needs. I realized that I have the power to stand by my values and say “no” sometimes, learning that a healthy balance between yourself and your teammates can truly lead to great collaboration and success.
Volunteering for International Summer Week was a rush of energy and a sense of belonging to the world. There was something magical about so many people working together towards a common goal, as well as even more people arriving to experience and immerse themselves into a multicultural environment in the beautiful location of south Sardinia. The feeling alone was motivation enough yet my teammates and people in the organization inspired me even more!
I arrived to Cagliari, wishing to dedicate my time, efforts and energy towards something great… I left with a sense of pride and joy, knowing that my time and efforts truly meant something and I was fortunate enough to contribute and work on a project celebrating sustainability, culture and people. Arriving with a set of expectations gave me comfort, until I realized this opportunity can offer so much more. TDM 2000 offered me a stimulating and safe environment, where I learned that expectations can restrict the way you view things and, in return, limit your experience and interpersonal growth. You cannot know all of the amazing things an opportunity can offer, as the outcomes can stem beyond your knowledge and imagination; however, only when you let it, can you truly enjoy and grow from the process.
To conclude my experience, I leave a message- Expectations are okay, yet things could happen in ways you least expect and, for better or worse, all you can do is embrace the process as it may even exceed your expectations, bringing wonderful memories and personal growth 🙂