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.