I am Nidhi Kaveri, an individual with Indian roots who embarked on a journey to Germany to pursue my master’s degree. My educational voyage began with a degree in agribusiness in India, and more recently, I graduated in Agri economics from the esteemed University of Hohenheim. From the outset, I held a fervent desire to utilize my education and efforts for the greater good. With my academic focus squarely on agriculture and development, I believed that I could make a substantial contribution to Mother Nature by contributing towards sustainability and environmental protection. It was during this juncture that I stumbled upon the ESC posting by IFOAM Organics Europe.
When I first encountered the ESC posting via my university e-mail, it was like a perfect match for me. I can’t express how overjoyed I was when I received the confirmation of my selection. However, the path to my onboarding was not without its challenges. As a non-EU national, I faced bureaucratic hurdles in obtaining my visa and work permit. Nonetheless, driven by my unwavering dedication and commitment, and with the invaluable support of IFOAM Organics Europe, I officially began my volunteering journey by the end of July.
Within IFOAM Organics Europe, I joined the Projects and Partnerships unit. My team’s role is pivotal in securing the financial resources needed to support the organization’s mission. Our responsibilities encompass seeking sponsors and foundations interested in funding specific projects and events, crafting project proposals, and reporting on the progress of these projects. When I joined the team, I had the privilege of working on the proposal for LIFE 2024-EU funding, which was nearing its conclusion. Presently, my focus has shifted to the reporting of LIFE 2023, in addition to handling two other reports. I also play a crucial role in communication with our members and sponsors, including the design of presentations for these purposes. I also had the honor of attending IFOAM organics Europe’s celebration of EU Organic Day, where I networked with former colleagues. Another highlight was my participation in a conference on GMOs at the European Parliament. As a non-EU citizen, it’s truly exciting for me to work closely with the political landscape and be a part of advocating for a noble cause.
Beyond the confines of work, my time in Brussels has been enriched by the vibrant community at the house in Schaerbeek, where I reside alongside fellow volunteers and other residents. The diversity and international flavor of the house have been a constant source of delight. Although I initially arrived during the holiday season, August saw everyone gradually returning, providing me with the opportunity to connect and create lasting bonds. We frequently organize get-togethers, and it’s heartwarming to experience the camaraderie among us. During the waning days of summer, I had the chance to travel with my housemates to the Blankenberge coast, where we enjoyed a delightful picnic, and my housemates even taught me to swim. In return, I shared the joy of cooking Indian cuisine, a culinary experience they thoroughly enjoyed. Exploring nearby cities like Ghent and Bruges further enriched my stay, and I must admit that Bruges, with its quaint charm, captured a special place in my heart. One memorable weekend, two of my housemates and I indulged in urban climbing, which was a thrilling adventure.
Furthermore, one of the fascinating aspects of Brussels is the thriving vegan community. Being a vegetarian myself, I was delighted to discover numerous vegan-friendly restaurants and places serving delectable vegan cuisine.
In summary, my journey in Brussels has already gifted me with invaluable experiences and lifelong connections. I eagerly anticipate the adventures and friendships that await me during the rest of my stay here.
Nidhi’s ESC Voluntary Service is hosted by IFOAM, the project is co-funded by the European Union.