#timeToMove 2020 EU mobility story

My name is Niamh Mc Dermott. I am an 18 year old broadcast journalist student
from Ireland.
This year I had the opportunity of a life time. I met Kasia from Letterkenny Youth
Information Centre who introduced me to a Eurodesk Solidarity Corp’s experience. The
project was a four month volunteering project in Madeira.
The project involved me volunteering as a tour guide in Madeira. There was a few
reasons why I chose this project. Volunteering abroad has always been top of my bucket list!
I love learning and love teaching so the idea of tour guiding seemed perfect for me. Being a
tour guide also gave me the opportunity to explore the island and educate myself on my
new home for the next four months. After I researched the ESC project I fell in love with the
island. Who doesn’t want to be in a hot island over Summer? Madeira is a Portuguese island
off the northwest coast of Africa.
Unfortunately, due to the global pandemic my experience was cut short. As the
covid alarms arose each country started to shut down. My mobility ended just over two
weeks into it. The possibility of being stuck in Madeira during a lockdown became stressful.
Flights where being cancelled every minute and the fact there is no direct flights to Ireland
made things confusing. We realised quickly that I had to get home ASAP. Kasia and everyone
form ESC where great help, they made my experience easy and assisted me in getting home.
They turned a stressful situation into me being able to enjoy and experience Madeira the
best way possible in my last few days.
When I was packing and getting ready for my experience I didn’t know what to
expect. I was nervous but excited. I was traveling to a new country alone and knowing
nobody. My main worries were the language barrier, living with strangers, travelling alone
and my financial ability to go. Once I arrived all my worries disappeared. When I got off the
plane and the heat hit me, I knew I would be fine. Kasia text me the whole time during my
travels. When I arrived I met everyone who treated me like royalty. The project co-
ordinator, Marcos, helped me with everything like my volunteering work, uniform, finance,
introducing me to everyone and anything I needed he was there. My roommate and other
volunteers where the best and we instantly became very close.
This year I am studying broadcast Journalism in Salford, England. My mobility
experience with ESC gave me the confidence to study abroad, the independent skills to live
alone and the maturity to study a difficult course that I am so interested in. I often write and
talk about my project in articles and projects.
I would definitely recommend people to get involved in a ESC project and to study
abroad. It is an amazing and safe opportunity for young people that helps you gain skills and
qualities needed in your life. I met friends for life and gained massive experience into
different cultural. I know someone from nearly every country in Europe now thanks to the
other volunteers. The project opens up so many opportunities for me. After graduating I
want to travel again. I am already researching other projects on the ESC website that I hope
to get involved in!

Since my ESC project, I have become a Eurodesk Ambassador for Ireland. This
gives me the opportunity to share my experience and to showcase the opportunities
available for young people. It gives you the chance to travel and the ability to connect with
people from other cultures. It gives young people the chance to gain new experiences and
knowledge. Irish people have the ability to study and get involved in the world on a national and international level. I recommend for everyone to get involved in a European Solidarity
Corps project, it’s an experience of a lifetime.

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