Antonia in Skopje, North Macedonia // 2nd Report

Sometimes life is like a puzzle. Everything can fall apart in a hundred of pieces and you don‘t know how to fix it. But with time you find the pieces you need to create a new masterpiece.

Hey, my name is Antonia and I am an 18 years old girl from Germany, volunteering in Skopje, Macedonia. During the summer I was working in an association that is called “Lastovica- Association  for the rights of children and youth with special needs“ and now my work in the school „D-r Zlatan Sremec- See the human behind“ is continuing.

For a long time in my life, I was thinking about the question how to make a difference in this world and with those little steps I am taking here, I feel like I am getting closer to the answer.

It’s hard to realize how people with disabillities are often not seen as a part of the community and that is something that truly needs to be changed. To work with them is such a pleasure for me because they have so much love to give and many things to teach and show you.

The last two months had an huge impact. Refering to work I can say that I was growing a lot but also in my personal being. I was so afraid of doing things wrong and also of getting too many responsibilities. But with time I learned that I am able to manage because in the first place there is no reason to be afraid, we all make mistakes sometimes and it is a chance to learn out of them and there is no problem in asking for help because there are moments in life where we all need someone standing by our side.

Life is not always rainbows and sunshine but what I can say for sure is that I had and have the greatest opportunities to meet the most amazing people who are the sun in the rainy days.

There are for example my flatmates. When you live with people like them you can win every war.

Almost every day there is the smell of freshly cooked food, we love to share the newest gossip with each other, you rarely experience a day where nobody is singing or dancing – our apartment is a big musical stage and you will never feel unloved or unwelcome. It’s not only friendship that connects us, we are a family!

During the summer time there were also some good opportunities for travelling and seeing more countries and cultures. Probably that was the first time I realized how it feels to earn own money and to decide what to do with it.

So one day me and my wonderful flatmate decided that we want to travel to Kosovo and a few hours later we were sitting in the bus without any passport, Covid test, or any idea where to sleep.

Well, that was probably the moment where we realized that being an adult also means that we have to start thinking on our own and not giving all the responsibilities to our parents.

But because the Balkan countries are just amazing and people are more than helpful and welcoming we managed everything perfectly.

Our next destination was Albania with two more German friends and these are probably four days that will stay in my mind forever, with a lot of ups and downs but as one of the most fantastic trips ever.

And last but not least I spent 10 days in Greece with a friend from Germany and I can totally understand why Macedonians are spending their holiday there. My company was my driver, photographer and manager all in one and the country was incredible.

Back in Macedonia my parents came to visit and I felt more than proud to show them the place where I live and the place where my heart is.

What else to wish for?!

It’s fascinating to see how seven months, a new sourrounding, the people around you, your work and all of your experiences can change you.

There is a quote that says „Create the life you are dreaming of“ and that’s what I am doing here with every new day and the most important thing for me is that day by day I am becoming more the woman that I want to be.

My heart is so full of gratitude. Thanks to my family that is supporting and loving me even when we are thousands of kilometers apart from eachother, to the friends that show me what real friendship means, my mentor who is helping me through every crisis and the waiters in the restaurants and coffee shops that still appreciate our continual coming even if we embarrass us every single time.

With people like that and the love and experiences I gain here, every broken piece of me is going back and forward to be a masterpiece.


Antonia is hosted on the project “See the human behind you – volunteering as a tool to support inclusion”, financed by the European Solidarity Corps and the National Agency for European Educational Programs and Mobility of North Macedonia.