My name is Maria Duran, I’m 18 years of age and I come from Aveiro, Portugal. My volunteering Project in Austria was from January of 2022 until the 31st of July. I still have some decisions to make about what I want to pursue in the future, although abstract, I have the vague dream of working with animals. I have several motives that made me experience this volunteering project. I couldn’t carry on with university studies right after I finished school; I tried to find jobs to help my parents with our daily lives while I decided what I wanted to do with mine, although with no success. For a while I was doing nothing as a citizen and my conciseness felt heavy because of that, so I offered myself the option of living abroad, I searched the ways and quality of living in several countries, Austria was undeniably on top. With this, the thought of moving to Austria was in the back of my mind, until one day in December of 2021 I received an email from the Portuguese Red Cross advertising this program. Now, I have no idea how they gained access to my email address or why they were promoting projects out of nowhere, I even thought about sending an email back saying that there must be some kind of mistake! But I ended up sending my curriculum and motivation letter and there I was!

I have to admit that at the beginning I thought we as cultures were way more different than we truly are, but now I don’t see that many differences from my country, except that the streets are so clean and tidy, the building in great condition, and your recycling system is very different and there is also some type of harmony in the air, I wouldn’t be able to explain even if I tried.

In my free time I enjoy walking, visiting surrounding cities and countries, sometimes just go to some peoples’ (whom I have met along the way) houses to hang out, sometimes bars and there are times when I enjoy doing absolutely nothing!

I guess in the end Tirol gave me an epiphany, good harmony, and state of being.

Bernas Volunteering Project

Hello, My name is Berna. I started my project in April 2022. I work as a volunteer at Volkshilfe BETA.

BETA is a vocational preparation project for young people with special needs. The aim of the project is to prepare young people for the business world in a targeted and professional way. There are professional trainers and youth coach who train young people here. Sometimes we go to mow the lawn with the young people, sometimes we learn math or English. We also have a workshop where we do creative things. Sometimes we make jewelry there or we work with wood. We give shapes to the board and paint them. This is my favorite activity.

some of my works

The company is located in Wörgl, Austria. My flat is also located in Wörgl. It is small but very cute. The city I live in is a bit small. That’s why I see the same people every day and it’s easier to make friends in the small cities than in big cities. But the biggest problem I had while making friends was the dialect. I learned german while living in Turkey, but I can only speak high german, so it took me a long time to get used to the Tyrolean dialect. But despite all the difficulties, making new friends, getting to know new cultures and tasting their food excites me.

One of the biggest reasons why I wanted to come here was that I wanted to improve my language. The project provides both online and classroom course opportunities. I also made many friends in this course. I improved my German by talking with them.

One of the two trainings we had to attend in the project, on-arrival-training, was online. Frankly, it was a bit of a disappointment for me because I wanted to meet and spend time with other volunteers. We did the training via Zoom. Although it wasn’t as exciting as being side by side, it was still a fun experience. Immediately after the training we communicated with other volunteers and became friends. We traveled to many places in Austria together. So I think these trainings are useful in many ways and I look forward to the Mid-term-meeting next month!

Shots from our trip to Austria with other volunteers

I am not normally a nature person. I would describe myself more as a city person. However, it is impossible not to fall in love with the exquisite view of the Alps! Every time I go for a walk or hike, the beauty of nature fascinates me. I love the mountains, the scenery and the fresh air here.

Möslalm (top of a mountan in Wörgl)

I have now finished the 5th month of my project. So I’m almost halfway through. I am very happy with all the experiences I have had so far. I look forward to gaining new experiences and collecting new memories. Thanks for reading.

volunteer in Volkshilfe BETA, Wörgl
coordinated by komm!unity


Life isn’t about finding yourself – or finding anything. It’s about creating yourself. Bob Dylan said that.

My project in Jenbach is finished and my time in Austria – at least for now – is over. It’s been the pleasure of my life to live and work in Tyrol for the last year, and I’m running out of superlatives to describe how contented I was during these incredible days.

The true success of the project, for me, was working with the lads in the Nachmittagschule during the day. I think that Leonardo and I really built something great during this time, and to call it work seems somewhat careless and inaccurate. We had fun from the first minute to the last, and I believe that we genuinely fostered an incredible almost anarchic atmosphere with the boys, and hopefully imparted a little bit of wisdom along the way. Naturally as a volunteer, you wonder what exactly it is that you’re bringing to the project, if you’re really benefitting anyone by being there. I always tried to bring as much enthusiasm, energy, and good music taste as I could to Jenbach, and I can only hope that in the end I offered half as much as I received in return. I don’t imagine I’ll ever again have a job that I honestly looked forward to each day as much as I did working at Point. This kind of work isn’t just fulfilling or rewarding, you can get that from any job, the true magnetism of the project – and what made it for me entirely unique – was that we really just had so much fun.

One of the things I really wanted out of this year was to live more in the moment, to not always be so fixated on what would, or might happen in the future, or spending time just revelling in nostalgia. I was really concerned with capturing moments, either in my mind, through photos, or in retelling stories. I was terrified that if they couldn’t be remembered or if there wasn’t proof that they had happened, then their intrinsic value would be somehow diminished. What if I lose my phone with all my photos, what if Instagram or iCloud deletes all its data 20 years from now, or I move house and lose a photo album? What happens when I get older, and the memory of these moments begin to fade? When I can’t remember the faces, or the inside jokes, or how happy I felt, or how peaceful it all was? Would that make it a waste of time? Did it really even happen if it wasn’t so impactful that I can still recall every detail? Spending the last year in Austria, one of the most important realisations that I’ve come to is this: The true value of a moment, its worth, its magic, comes as it happens. It doesn’t matter if we remember it, or whether anyone remembers it, or that anyone else even knows it ever happened. The fact that it happened at all, that you experienced it, that you shared that experience with someone else, that’s all there is. Whether you’re present enough to live in the moment at all times, or if you just take a second to indulge in an occasion and appreciate its beauty, or if you only embrace the nostalgic warmth of retrospection, it doesn’t really matter. Observed or not, you lived it, and if in 6 months or 30 years you can’t remember the specific details, just remember that it happened.

It’s almost tragic that I only got to spend 11 months in Tyrol, but during this brief time I’ve composed something almost hallucinatory. Coming back to Scotland feels like waking up from a dream, as if life in Austria was entirely separate from reality. I think that speaks to just how astonishingly surreal my time there was. An almost perfect period that – remembered by anyone or not – did in fact take place. I’ve left with a new sense of confidence and purpose, a new appreciation for the agony and the ecstasy of life, and a deeper understanding of intimacy and connection between people. None of these things were found, they were created.

The world is yours.

Peace, Stuart.