Internship @ SCI Austria office

During six months I had the great opportunity to do an internship within SCI Austria. My tasks were as diverse as it can get but there were two main areas: the funding and fundraising area and the non-formal education (NFE) area. Concerning the first one, I had to gather all relevant information about available funding at a national and European level for SCI Austria, which enters in line with their values and work contents. I managed to apply to three different funding and followed up each step of the project implementation for two of them. We organized a fundraising and educational hike on the theme of sustainability, which taught me the difficulties of organizing fundraising events and the different aspects of outdoor-in motion educational activities.

Wochenendaktion im Nationalpark Donauauen
Wochenendaktion im Nationalpark Donauauen

Concerning the educational area, I researched, reviewed and created NFE materials for the study part of SCI’s workcamps and the preparation seminar concerning Peace education, Sustainability, Intercultural communication, Human rights education and Migration. On the end, I managed to create a complete study part toolkit for SCI Austria’s workcamp coordinators. I was in charge of the interviews and selection of the workcamp coordinators and I also participated in the logistical organisation of the preparation seminar for volunteers and coordinators and for this occasion facilitated two workshops. I was lucky to participate in three different trainings:

  • “Laboratory for tools and skills for Peace Builders” (CCIVS, in Greece): learning how to develop tools and workshops on human rights, with a special focus on migration.
  • “Building Bridges: Training Course on Working with Asylum Seekers and Refugees” (SCI, in Switzerland): learning how to include refugees and work on the theme of refugees within volunteering projects.
  • Wikimedia training (Austria): learning how to write and edit articles, respecting the values of Wikimedia.

Valentine im Waldhüttl3I had the wonderful opportunity to coordinate a two weeks workcamp (Fresh’n’up Waldhüttl) with 13 international volunteers. The main tasks were the following: renovation and gardening work, organize a sport event with refugee, organize a Roma festivity, organize a human library with refugees, organize educational workshops on the themes of migration, minorities and sustainable lifestyle, facilitate group dynamics and mediate conflicts. This experience taught me once again how one of the most important aspects of NFE is to adapt to the target group as the results are rarely predictable but always valuable. I enhanced my capacity to connect people and create learning opportunities for all. Last but not least, I confirmed that education and social work are a passion which has to guide my life.

Finally, I also had a lot of administrative work, dealing with the internal and external communications, participating in the monthly plenary sessions and regular sub-group meetings. I also occasionally worked with the archives of SCI, promoted SCI’s volunteering projects and values during volunteer fairs and festivals and organized an event to promote the EVS.

Valentine am Prep Sem_WebAs the team of SCI Austria is composed only of volunteers, mainly students, I worked most of the time independently and had to make proof of a lot of determination and discipline to identify and implement the steps of the general tasks set up with my internship tutor. However, it was also a very good opportunity to learn about my own needs within a work environment and develop my sense of creativity and initiative. The SCI team was always as supportive and resourceful as they could, when you consider the limited time available for my accompaniment (thank you all!). Additionally, I was granted a lot of freedom concerning my work schedule and my work projects.

To sum up, I learned a lot about SCI values and working methods, fundraising methods and funding application process, project planning, implementation and follow up, workcamp coordination, NFE workshops’ development and implementation in the context of volunteering projects in ethical and critical ways, how to work with refugees and on the refugee theme in an educational context and independent and team work in an international environment.

I am very thankful to have been part of this adventure, which was a wonderful learning and creative experience, and I am looking forward to the following ones with SCI Austria as a regular volunteer this time!

Valentine