A lot of people ask me what I did during my volunteering in Spain, so I'll tell you a bit of this story today.

Let me start by telling you something about Burgos. If you think of the sea and a lot of sun in Spain, I will disappoint you. Burgos, the city where I volunteered, is 250 kilometers north of Madrid and everyone from there will tell you that it is one of the coldest cities in Spain. It is like Spanish Kysuce. The wind blows more there and it’s higher, 856 mamsl. Anyway, I was very pleased when I came there because there were many places in the area where you can go rock climbing, so whenever we had some time, we were hanging from some rocks. :)

(street of Burgos; Burgos cathedral; Arco de Santa Maria; platans in Burgos; climbing in the surrounding of Burgos)

What I appreciated the most were the Spanish lessons. Compared to other projects, there was above-standard language support. Every day I had the opportunity to go for 2 hours of Spanish in the morning or in the afternoon to the volunteer language center Atalaya Intercultural, where the volunteers taught Spanish to people in social vulnerability. Most of them were economic migrants from Morocco, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Furthermore, we had OLS (Online Linguistic Support) from Erasmus + and since most of the people in Spain don't understand English, the first months were a struggle for me.

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(Trip with kids from Atalaya Intercultural)

My main role at Amycos was to take care of the exhibitions. Amycos is a non-profit organization that promotes justice and solidarity in a non-violent way. They fight against all forms of discrimination based on religion, gender, social class, or ethnic origin. They raise awareness on topics such as hunger, poverty, and the concentration of resources in only a few countries in the world. They defend human rights in different nations and promote attitudes and policies that lead us to build responsible relationships with the environment. Amycos exhibitions and plenty of materials on these topics can be found on their website Amycos.org

When someone would order one of our exhibitions, I picked up a van, loaded it, assembled it, and later came with other volunteers to do a workshop or lecture on the subject. We have worked with topics such as the goals of sustainable development, responsible use of water, conscious consumption, and Fair Trade

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(Workshop about Fair Trade - Santander)

What I enjoyed the most there were the workshops and various stands on the street, in schools, or in other organizations. I learned a lot about sustainability and that we should choose mainly local products in the store. Do not eat avocados and other imported fruits and products as if they were growing next door. And I do not let me start talking about how much money we pay for the imported stuff, that actually goes to those poor farmers somewhere in Africa or Latin America who make $3 per day. Therefore, be interested in Fair Trade products and eat more locally.

(Workshop about goals of sustainable development v Brivieske; Stand about the shortage of water - Santa Maria al Campo 1, 2; Workshop about Fair Trade - Santa Maria del Campo; Workshop about sustainability - Villablino; Monastery canteen - Burgos; Office Amycos - Burgos)

Besides these things, during the week I used to go to the monastery every day to help in the canteen for people in need and twice a week I was helping the children in need with their homework. Plus hours in the Amycos office, where I helped with planning and preparing the workshops or exhibitions.

Ok, but let me not just talk about my work. I also want to tell you about how I met countless awesome people there, both from Spain and from all over Europe. Greek roommate Kyriakos, who explained to me that Gyros is not Kebab and that Macedonia should not be called Macedonia, but something else, because Macedonia is also part of Greece. Italian roommate Giada, who made the best risotto I've ever eaten, and who taught me that there is pasta, and pasta from Italy. It’s funny but after being in Spain for a year I learned pretty well how to swear in Italian.

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(Ojo Guareňa cave)

Let me also tell you how I got on an expedition to Ojo Guareña, one of the largest caves in Europe, and how I crawled through such openings that you wouldn't believe it. How I traveled all the north, from the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela, saw many natural phenomena, waterfalls, hills, medieval villages, and towns, plus I don't know how many cathedrals. But most of all, I lived there to the fullest. We were always coming up with something to do and were never bored.

(Farro de Caballo; Bosque de Oma; Dragonstone :D; Ronda; Pyrenees; some beach in the norht; Picos de Europa)

Everyone who thinks about volunteering, stop thinking, dare and go for it. We are young only once.

Šimon.

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