Meet Elitza – Our Environmentally-Friendly Volunteer in Marseille

Elitza is one of these youngsters that make you smile from the first time you see her – always positive, full of energy, and passionate about the environment. Last year she headed to Marseille to become a volunteer in the office of our partner Eurocircle as part of REVE – a project within the European Solidarity Corps program .

Hello! Please introduce yourself with a few words  🙂 

Hi! My name is Eli and I am from Sofia, Bulgaria. After about 7 years of work experience in different fields, I decided to bring a little change to my everyday life and do something that could be seen by some as a bit crazy for my 29 years of age at that time. For a long time, I could feel the urge to find an activity with a positive impact on our society and this is why it didn’t take me long to take the decision of joining the European Solidarity Corps (ESC) .

Is this your first long-term experience abroad? 

Before starting my 6-month mission for the ESC I had been traveling a lot around the world, mostly for short-term trips of a week or a few months, but I had never worked in such an international and intercultural environment as now.

How did you learn about the ESC and what motivated you to join the program?

I learned about the ESC thanks to the CVS and YouthHub organizations whose activities and events I like a lot. It was mainly after the No More War Festival organized by CVS that I started following them on social media. Later on, I had the chance to discover more and more about the different mobility opportunities for young people.

What are your tasks as a volunteer?

In Eurocircle I had many different tasks – from workshops in schools to trainings on tolerance through the selection of candidates for volunteering missions and also work on European projects. I was very lucky with my organization because all my colleagues were open to show volunteers whatever interested us most and giving us the freedom to propose new activities.

Editor’s note: Besides her everyday tasks, Elitza was very active and joined many local events and competitions. She made a video which won an award from the competition “The Environment is my business” – a competition organized as part of the climate diplomacy week by the Regional Representation of the European Commission in Marseille, in partnership with the Consulates of the Member States of the European Union present in Marseille, the office of the European Parliament in Marseille, the city of Marseille as well as the organizers of the Alpha Festival.

You can watch her video here:


What is the biggest challenge in your life as a volunteer? 

The biggest challenge during my mission was of course the Covid-19 situation. In France, there was a second full lockdown as well as a curfew which was in the beginning at 9 pm and then at 6 pm. Besides the crystal-clear negative effects of the pandemics, I was also feeling a bit disappointed because I could not host my friends and family from Bulgaria. But thanks to the fact I was sharing an apartment with 5 wonderful roommates I could still be very social.

What is the most inspiring thing in your project?

Some of the most inspiring moments of my mission were the meetings with teenagers and youth with different backgrounds. This gave me a lot of food for thought and I am very happy for being part of the projects we had with them. The second most remarkable element from my stay here is the amazing people that I met – colleagues, volunteers, and other acquaintances with whom I was sharing, learning, creating, and even living with some of them.

How does the pandemic affect the work of your hosting organization?

Of course, a lot of the planned events and projects had to be postponed or rethought because of the global pandemics. For a very short period of time, the whole team had to learn how to work from home and what is even more challenging – how to adapt all our face-to-face trainings to online ones. A good idea was to have team meetings on a regular basis in order to look for solutions together.

What surprised you the most about Marseille?

Marseille is a remarkable city for me. Only here I have felt like traveling around the world by only staying in one place. Here for one day, only you can meet people from all kinds of places like Ecuador, Italy, Russia or Tunisia for example. Furthermore, you can easily jump on a boat from the very center of the city and visit one of the neighboring islands including the Château d’If of Monte Cristo. Only with one ticket you could hop on the public bus and go to the Massif des Calanques (a mountainous mass of beaches and rocks). For whoever stays here for longer there will also be the chance to dive into the enriching environment of local organizations and initiatives inventing all kinds of nature protection projects or humanitarian activities.

Read also our interview of Emma, ​​a French volunteer from Marseille 

Please share with us some interesting stories from your voluntary service.

During my volunteering, I was in close contact with plenty of cultures mainly because I was living with other volunteers from different countries and ages. One of the most important friendships I created here is with an English girl whose parents had to flee the Civil War in Somalia in 1991. Listening to the story of her family as well as to the memories of her childhood with her 8 siblings, was one of the biggest cultural shocks for me during my stay here.

What will you say to motivate them to join an ESC project as volunteers?

For me personally, these 6 months were totally worth it – they were eye-opening and enriching and they helped me discover other cultures and realities and they were a real introduction for me to the world of the socially engaged associations in France (which are numerous ). For me, this project brought only growth and I hope many more Bulgarian and European youth to take advantage of this opportunity.


The European Commission support for the production  of this publication does not constitute an endorsement  of the contents which reflects the views only of the  authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information  contained therein.