Justine, 22, is the volunteer ambassador for VISA-AD in Strasbourg.
Here she tells us why she started this Service Civique adventure and revisits the mission she began in October 2014.
Why did you become a Service Civique Volunteer?
When I got my degree, I needed to get out of the overwhelming cycle of endless tests and the academic outlook of university life. I definitely wanted to “pause” but I didn’t want it to be just for my benefit.
I have already taken the opportunity to volunteer abroad and I had loved making myself useful, so the idea of helping out an association for almost a year was one I liked right away.
What does your mission involve?
I am the “ambassador” for the VISA-AD association: I maintain contact with the volunteers out on missions and I manage the association’s communications on social media.
As part of my Service Civique, I also have the opportunity to set up a personal project so I arranged visits to colleges and youth groups to raise awareness of the different possible assignments available in volunteering.
What’s interesting about Service Civique is that you can prioritise what you do best, so I often get to use my writing skills, to work on our press releases for example or conducting volunteers interviews etc.
Would you say a year serving others is rewarding?
It’s rewarding in so many ways!
From my own point of view, it’s a great experience that lets me explore certain skills that university would never have brought out in me: I’ve realised that getting out of the academic sphere is really important for your personal development, for example.
Over the course of my mission, I met people different from me, some unusual lifestyles, and also really enthusiastic young people who make me want to go even further in what I’m doing. The people I spend time with during my mission trust me, which gives me more confidence in myself and lets me say what I think with more conviction.
At the same time, I’m using my time to take a step back from my personal journey and re-evaluate my life choices with a more critical and certainly more mature eye. I should also admit that volunteering is a real “plus” for universities and businesses because it shows them the young person is passionate and engaged.