The volunteering experience of Mimi at OCC Barcelona

My name is Mimi, I am 19 years old and I am from England. I am volunteering at OCC Barcelona as part of my European Solidarity Corps project for nine months. My main role is as the English teacher in which I teach locals at a beginner and intermediate level and also to refugee minors. 

Before I came to OCC, I spent the year solo-travelling around Europe and the USA. This was an incredibly life-changing and invaluable experience for me and made me realise how much I love visiting other countries and meeting people of different nationalities. The greatest thing travelling gave me was independence and it is because of this that I was accepted to work at OCC, despite my age.

 I visited Barcelona twice before I arrived in September and ever since then it was the place I dreamt to be. I initially planned to teach English abroad, but it was not possible without training. After my sister completed a European Volunteering Project in Berlin, I was very determined to emulate her experience in France but had little success. I was on the verge of giving up when I came across a post for OCC advertising for an English teacher. It was the perfect position for me because it combined my desire to teach and was based in Barcelona, my dream destination. At first, I had little faith I would be accepted onto the project, so when I was, it was a very special feeling and one that I still haven’t fully taken in.

 Teaching English has been sometimes challenging because I don’t have any training and I am naturally very shy. However, the positives have outweighed the negatives and my confidence has grown so much. I can’t believe how much I enjoy it and how natural it feels to me. In addition to teaching, I am also in charge of posting on the Open Cultural Center Youth Instagram account. This is a great way for me to explore my creative side and put my English skills to use. In addition, one of my favourite tasks is helping with administration work in the office, such as typing the minutes in meetings.

Working at OCC does not feel like a job and I enjoy going to work every single day. I feel very lucky to work with such wonderful people who have become more of a family than colleagues. Barcelona feels like my home and I am exceedingly happy and comfortable here. Therefore, I’d like to continue my journey here in Barcelona after my project ends. I am unbelievably grateful to OCC for giving me this opportunity and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the months bring.