What lessons does the alternative environment teach us – Ivan from Hale 3 tells us about it!

Finding the right path is not an easy task. Perhaps the reason is that there is no such thing as a right or wrong path – everything we experience is important for us to become who we are. Ivan from Hale 3 tells us about the lessons he learned on his way, what led him to the Alternative Space and what awaits him after his project under the European Solidarity Corps!

Hello, how are you?

I am very well. It is warming up outside, summer is coming. I do have a lot of work and I’m busy at the moment, but it’s great because I’m not bored!

Introduce yourself in a few words?

My name is Ivan, 24 years old from Varna. I am a volunteer at Hale 3 . I deal with the maintenance of the place and the organization of events. I also help, when I need to, with the administration if there are any projects in the process of writing, and I give a hand when they ask me to. In general, I am there when I have to! 

I am also a student, this year I am graduating in Industrial Management at the Technical University of Varna. That’s what I’m doing right now. 

Have you been a volunteer before?

I have been a volunteer before – for example, I have helped during marathons, I’ve cleaned beaches, etc.

How did you decide to participate in a European Solidarity Corps project ?

I was looking for a job that I liked, and I had chosen the non-governmental sector. I had decided that I would do something that I liked. I needed either a part-time job or something not very engaging to be able to earn some income and at the same time study for university. Accordingly, I researched for such positions and contacted some friends who I know are involved in this field. A friend showed me this position. Another friend had also told me that Hale 3 was hiring people. I decided to find out what it was all about. I was aware of the activities of Hale 3, but I was not very aware of the work itself. 

Then I wrote to Teddy, who is a former volunteer and still volunteers at some events , she told me about Hale 3 and her experience and I applied.

And did you know about ESC before that?

I had no idea what ESC was all about, I just knew that my project had to go through the program. I am now much more informed about the whole process and the various opportunities that the European Union offers. Now I’m considering going on an internship for a month or two. I had a lot of plans to travel on exchanges, brigades, and so on. Most of them failed because of the pandemic. I still want to do it but at the moment I have a lot of obligations in Varna and I can’t travel. 

Tell us what are your tasks in Hale 3?

In general, I make sure things go smoothly. I deal with the organization of some events, also the communication with different people, when something needs to be fixed, I’m looking for an option on how to fix it, when I need to buy something, I find where. I chose the music for the movie Shtuk Tuk-Tam as well. * I help as much as I can. At the moment I’m not so busy because I’m graduating and I have a lot of commitments to the university. That’s why I work only 4 days a week. One day I do movies, on Friday or Saturday I do parties, and one day I do whatever has to be done.

* Shtak Tuk-Tam the film, which was released on 27.04.21, is a joint project of the Association FOR YOU, Hale 3, and other Varna-based organizations, to promote volunteering, alternative sports, and active citizenship. You can learn more about the film and the festival on the Facebook page.

What are the challenges in your daily life as a volunteer?

The biggest challenge is the people and the fact that each of the team comes from a different place and has different ideas and goals in life. Sometimes it is difficult to adjust or to understand each other at all. There are times when there is a lack of understanding and other times when you feel like you are talking to a brick wall – I’ve tried, you can’t change everything. I no longer take it as a challenge. People decide to do what they want and to give what they want, it is what it is. It’s a bit frustrating because sometimes it’s demotivating if someone doesn’t give and you don’t want to give. Honestly, I think we’re doing pretty well. We have some inside conflicts, but overall we are doing OK. Things are going well. 

How has the pandemic affected your business?

The pandemic had a severe impact on everything. We are a youth space, whose main goal is to socialize people, to let them come here and communicate. When you’re limited to gather people and have to do everything online, it’s harder to organize it. People are not so inspired to participate in different things online because the experience is completely different. We managed to do it anyway.

What is your favorite thing about the project?

The whole experience made me very happy, I met so many people who do different things, do interesting activities. In general, you are constantly enriching yourself by meeting new people. When someone comes with a different story, a different experience, it enriches you in some way and for me, it is very valuable. I learned a lot about how things happen, how they work, and how they should work. 

Hale 3 is a youth space where many interesting events are organized . Tell us more about your favorite party you had?

My favorite part was parties I didn’t work on all night, but I worked until midnight, after which I was part of the party for 3 hours. There were a lot of parties that happened unexpectedly, that is to say, there was no intent for a party, but it just happened. Otherwise, I mainly organize techno parties, we also organized a disco party, which turned out very well until 9-10 in the evening. Then I went home, came back at 1 o’clock and did techno until 4 in the morning. It was very cool, even though we were 10 people.  

What inspires you the most in the project you are involved in?

I am very inspired by the whole alternative of not having an office job, staying all day from 9 to 5, and being unhappy with life. You feel useful overall and you do something that makes sense. You don’t work for a company that makes money off of you and gives you a percentage. You do something for yourself and if someone rushes you for something, it is precisely for some purpose to make something important happen for everyone. That inspires me!

What would you say to young people to motivate them to join the ESC?

It’s great! Nothing bad. I would recommend this position to people who have just finished school and do not know what they want to do with their lives. In the West, it is very popular for students to take 1-2 years off after high school* to decide what they want to do. For example, I made the mistake of choosing the wrong path after 12th grade just because it was the subject I was the best in, and I had no idea what I was doing. I studied it for two years and gave up. Then I took this 1 year to think things over and only then I started to get some ideas and choose a path. I’m still not sure if it’s the right one, but it feels a lot more correct than the one I took at 19. This is a very good opportunity. If I had worked at Hale when I was 19, it would have been radically different. You learn a lot here and it’s a pretty good opportunity for young people!

If you are going to build a career, sometimes it is not easy to just drop everything and give yourself a year as a volunteer. But some people need just that. I have a lot of friends who are already serious about some businesses. From this point of view, I feel that I am a little behind with this 1 year, but I have grown up. In my case, everything fits perfectly. Do it while you’re young!

* Read more about the benefits of getting a GAP year, our article HERE.

Have you thought about doing a personal project / initiative?

The art s hop was largely my initiative and I pushed hard to develop it. Honestly, now we have all left it a bit in the background. The first 2-3 months the art shop was very successful, but now things have calmed down a bit. I have no other projects of my own. I do cinema in particular because it is close to my heart. I like to choose folk movies and when I see them leave with smiles – it fills me with joy. 


The art shop of Hale 3 offers a variety of cool stickers, handmade jewelry, cards, and other works of art. All this from local artists!

What do you plan to do when you finish the project?

In general, I have no idea what I want to do. I had a few ideas, but they also failed because of Covid. Stoyan has an organization that I joined and helped – the Young Generation in Action . Overall, it looks like a promising project that I could help with as much as I could. I will be engaged there. I’ll probably also find a job because I still have to eat.

How would you describe the last year in 3 words?

Interesting, different, and inspiring…



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