Magdalena’s volunteer experience: ‘In this corner of Spain, I found not only a new address but also a new family’


Although it may seem like no one has time for anything in today’s fast-paced lifestyle, every day, millions of people around the world volunteer for thousands of different associations, organizations, and companies.

This activity provides significant help to those in need, the community, the environment, animals, and so on, but the volunteers themselves also experience great benefits. They can find new friends and colleagues, connect with the community, learn new skills, and even advance their careers. Volunteering can also help strengthen mental and physical health, reduce stress, lower the risk of depression, mentally stimulate a person, increase empathy and understanding, and provide a sense of purpose.

And how exactly did Magdalena Dević, a volunteer with the European Solidarity Corps (ESC), whom Sunce supported to go to sunny Spain at the end of September 2023, experience this? We found out in a letter she sent us the other day.


Letter from Spain


My name is Magdalena, and I am currently living in a small Spanish town called Puente Genil.

If you were wondering (although you probably weren’t 🙂 ), I am here because I am an ESC volunteer. Most of my work is with the Asociación Europa 2020, where I’ve “stuck” in the world of Erasmus projects that, poetically speaking, build bridges between young people and the opportunities they have. We mostly work on KA2 large projects (strategic partnerships), but we also organize KA1 projects – training and youth exchanges. Besides Erasmus programs, we also work on many local projects and events that are even more important for the local community and for us volunteers, who can that way get the real Spanish experience. Alongside the association, I also help at the Compañia de Maria school – mostly in the cafeteria and as an assistant to English teachers since English is certainly not their strong suit here.

In this corner of Spain, the heart of Andalusia, I have found not only a new address but also a new family, as “cringe” as that may sound. But it’s true! The friends I’ve made here have become my people, and I’ve become theirs. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine returning to Croatia without them and this way of life. Of course, I miss my people too, but here I have a very good “substitute.”

The food, the people, the culture – everything here makes me extremely happy and content!

I am learning more than I ever expected, and it’s very interesting to me since I applied for this project just because I wanted some kind of life change. Honestly, the change happened, and I’m so indescribably glad it did. Not only did I realize what I want to do when I return, but I also gained a life full of surprises and uncertainties, always with a dose of passion and love.

Since I’m not the best writer, I’ll stop here. I hope this short confession will help someone with new life decisions and be a springboard, as it was for me. Until the next reading!



Do you want to become an ESC volunteer?

Given that 18 foreign volunteers have been in Sunce within the ESC program so far and that we have been a supporting organization for two volunteers who had the opportunity to see the beauties of Spain and Germany, we know that every volunteer experience is different. Everyone meets different people and experiences different situations, but all of them agree on one thing – it’s an experience that changes you irreversibly. For the better, of course.

Volunteering within the ESC program lasts from 2 to 12 months, and you can go practically anywhere in Europe. The goal is to promote solidarity and help the local community while developing your own competencies.

So, if you want to discover where a volunteering adventure might take you, contact us ([email protected]) and we will present you with several options.

You can also explore the volunteer opportunities by yourself. Create an account on this portal to search for projects and later formally connect with an organization. When you find a project you’re interested in, contact us so we can be your supporting organization because you can’t join the ESC program without it. We have already written in detail about the program.

Good luck!