On May, I had the unique opportunity to participate in a job shadowing experience with EstYES, Estonia. The main outcomes of the experience are understanding and cooperation. On the one hand, I am able to understand better European programs, inequalities within regions, and the power that lies within the youth and the voluntary service. On the other hand, the experience gave me the possibility to explore cooperation with countries that do not form part of the world vision of the Mexican youth. Overall, the job shadowing helped me to create new ideas about why IVS is vital in our path to build peace and justice.
I have volunteered abroad and currently I coordinate voluntary programs for foreigners in Mexico. Nevertheless, thanks to EstYES, I had the opportunity to become for the first time an observer and listener of youth in action. I was able to visit several youth organizations in Tallin and Narva (VitaTim, public youth centers, etc.), and talk with the volunteers and coordinators working in them. This new perspective taught me to valorize more the capabilities of youth as agents of change, and IVS as a platform for it.
The experience also brought into the surface common and particular challenges. While the impact and necessity of volunteering abroad are clearer for the people involved in it, it is getting harder to boost interest and transmit the value of it to new generations. If we aim to enhance the IVS movement, we need to join efforts, link IVS to the needs and interest of young generations and use vocabulary that evokes the purpose of IVS.
In addition, it became clear through discussions with the EstYES team and the Estonian Youth Agency that international volunteering is part of the European agenda, and therefore, European youth and organizations receive considerable support from their governments. Thanks to past south-north cooperation, EstYES Director was able to share some advice to balance the mentioned shortcomings, such as cooperation with local universities and governments.
Solidarity, understanding, respect, and cooperation are some of the values that the IVS movement try to incorporate in the global youth, but it is also the foundation from which IVS organizations can grow and move towards peace and justice. The job shadowing gave SIIJUVE a new ally and perspective, and for that, I am very thankful to EstYES and CCIVS.
Mariana García Berrueta, Incoming Coordinator ICYE Mexico