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Crossing Borders – Rovena, from Albania, talks about volunteering at Youth Council Prilep

-Tell us a bit about yourself: your name, where you come from, what kind of studies did you complete

I am Rovena Lemnusha and I live in Tirana, Albania. I have already finished my Bachelor Degree in political science and I plan to continue my master’s degree in the same field.

- What was you first experience with volunteering?

I started working as a volunteer when I was 19. I was part of an organization in Albania (I am still part of it) called “Different and Equal” that deals with the reintegration of human trafficking victims in society.

- What was your mission and who were the target group(s) ?

During these years I have had different tasks inside the organization. At the beginning I was just trying to learn more about the organization and how everything there worked, sometimes translating reports and similar things. Then I started to organize “The Book Club”, during which we all read a book and then discussed about it. Right now I am teaching English to the girls in the organization.

- Now, you are volunteering abroad, how did you get involved in this project ?

I heard about this internship from one of the coordinator of the project. As I am not studying at university this year, I found this was the perfect timing for this internship. I didn’t think much about it so I told myself “Let’s go!” And actually this is my first internship abroad.

- What are your missions and who is/are your target group ?

The internship consists on working voluntary in “Youth Council Prilep”, an organization that works for the youth. It is like a cultural exchange and gives me the opportunity to learn more about the Macedonian culture and especially about the young people. I have participated in some of the activities organized with the youth and I have found them really interesting. I like to see young people, high school students being active and volunteering to bring change in their society.

- How did the first few days in your hosting country feel like ?

At first, when I came to Prilep I was a little scared. Everything was new for me, even though I grew up in a city very close to Macedonia, and somehow I already had some information about it. But that moment of fear passed really soon and that was because of the people I met. Of course I had difficulties at the beginning. I didn’t know any word in Macedonian (even now I only know a few) I didn’t know the city and everything. But everybody was so nice to me and always trying to make me feel home. So the first days passed by meeting people, visiting places around Prilep, trying the delicious Macedonian food.

- What was the hardest thing(s) to adapt to ?

Everything was easier than I thought it would be, although at the beginning I somehow missed my family. But as I said earlier, everybody was being so kind to me that I felt like I had been here for months.

- What would you bring back home from your hosting country if you could ? (friend, food, moral value, landscape...)

I have a lot of good memories to bring back home but not only. I had the opportunity to meet Macedonian people, to ask them about different things, and the more I asked, the more I understood Macedonian and Albanian societies have a lot of things in common. I had the chance to visit some nice places here around Prilep and I was impressed. And about the friends I made here, I am sure they will visit me in Albania soon.