Nidhi in Brüssel, Belgien // Abschlussbericht

When I first arrived in the new city, fear gripped me. The unfamiliar streets, the foreign language, and the uncertainty of it all weighed heavily on my mind. But little did I know that Brussels would weave its magic around me, and my time here would pass so quickly.  It became a place where I forged lasting memories, built incredible friendships, and grew both personally and professionally.

The city buzzed with diversity—an international melting pot where cultures collided, and ideas flowed freely. In the Grand Place, Gothic spires reached for the sky, and the scent of waffles hung like a promise. And oh, the Atomium stood tall, reflecting the dreams of a bygone era. Amidst this vibrant chaos, I found my purpose: volunteering with IFOAM Organics Europe.

The heart of my journey lay in the connections I made. Amidst the city hustle, I found some sweet housemates who were very welcoming, and they became so close to my heart. Our kitchen became a canvas for cultural exchange. We understood and respected each other’s cultural differences. With them, I got firsthand experience of Italian, Polish, and Dutch culture. Also, at IFOAM OE, I built more than professional connections; I found mentors who believed in my potential. Their guidance extended beyond spreadsheets and reports.  

My favourite memories from my volunteering experience include:

1. Team Excursion: I had the chance to visit farms and a chocolate factory alongside my entire IFOAM Organics Europe team. The excursion also included an exciting and challenging hike.

2. Ghent: This spectacular city left a lasting impression. If given the chance, I would visit it again. The blend of history, architecture, and vibrant energy was captivating.

3. Escape Room Adventure: I embarked on this adventure with my Projects & partnerships team. Solving puzzles and unravelling mysteries together was a lot of fun.

4. Farewell Dinner: As my tenure neared its end, my manager and teammates organized a heartfelt farewell dinner. The room glowed with warmth—the clinking of glasses, the heartfelt speeches. Additionally, my housemates also organized a farewell dinner, making it doubly memorable.

5. Mid-Term Training in Halle: This experience allowed me to engage with other ESC volunteers, sharing and learning from each other’s journeys. We had a lot of fun during this training and had an exciting escape room episode.

I had some major life lessons during my volunteering. Volunteering taught me to juggle multiple tasks effectively. Balancing project deadlines, meetings, and personal commitments required finesse—a skill I now carry into every aspect of my life. I had learnt to Navigate through the cultural nuances. I learned to appreciate diverse perspectives, communicate across language barriers, and find common ground even when our backgrounds differed. I learned that Raising funds for a cause isn’t just about numbers; it’s about storytelling. Crafting compelling narratives, connecting with donors, and rallying support—these skills have become invaluable.

Regarding the tasks, the creative ones thrilled me such as the data visualization. To be honest, reporting wasn’t my favourite one. Yet even the mundane reports played their part. They taught me discipline, attention to detail, and the power of documentation.

As I step back into the “real world,” I carry a toolbox of skills. Volunteering exposed me to the inner workings of organizations, especially teamwork. My future? It’s brighter, more purposeful, and deeply influenced by this enriching experience.

I would recommend this to anyone seeking more than a resume booster.

Nidhi’s ESC Voluntary Service is hosted by IFOAM, the project is co-funded by the European Union.