I am really excited to be joining the team at UNA Exchange, volunteering was very much part of my youth and now through my own children I have been rediscovering the opportunities. What UNA exchange can offer individuals is quite unique and diverse and at the core promotes accessible opportunities for everyone which I passionately believe in.
I have spent much of my career working with young people to access different forms of education and volunteering has always been a key aspect in a helping develop them.
As the new Director of UNA Exchange I hope I will be able to build upon the strong foundations of the organisation by maintaining and developing our relationships with partners that will guide us through finding a sustainable future and enable us to be around for the next 40 years.
My journey here started a long time ago. Or more precisely, it started when I was twelve years old, taking part in my first international group exchange between Germany and France. Since then I haven’t stopped and have been volunteering in different countries: Germany, France, South Africa, Tanzania, Cornwall and Wales. After doing all these different kinds of exchanges and international volunteering, I wanted to take a look behind the scenes and understand how international volunteering works at a more organisational level. I have been very lucky to receive the chance of doing my European Voluntary Service with UNA Exchange and support the Exchanges programme for about 6 months. Since September 2015 I am working as the EVS Coordinator at UNA Exchange which is a very interesting and rewarding position I think as I actually help other people to have an amazing international volunteering experience (like I had and still have).
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I gained an appreciation for the importance of voluntary work and the voluntary sector through my own volunteering experiences prior to undertaking my position at UNA Exchange. My personal experience highlighted the value of voluntary work from both the volunteer’s side as well as from the side of those who are being helped by charitable projects/organisations. I believe my time volunteering was beneficial to me both personally and professionally and this inspired me to seek work in the third sector. I am therefore pleased to now be working for a charitable organisation that provides volunteering opportunities across the world and is committed to celebrating diversity and cultural exchange.
I went on my own volunteer project to Italy to help run a community festival, and realised the magic of international volunteering when it is as it should be; born of a real need within a community, and bringing equal benefits to all parties involved.
Step by Step Coordinator
Since September, 2016 i will work as an EVS volunteer in UNA Exchange. I am working in communications and this volunteering allows me to improve my skills in this field but mainly to meet great people and discover many cultures. Everyday, I am trying to spread this state of mind in our community in the social media.
Eda Fatma Pelit
Exchanges Assistant (EVS)
Everything started with a workcamp! It was during a workcamp in France where I discovered the part of me that loves international exchanges. It gave me more opportunity to reach new people and taste new things and feel alive. I left my family, friends and studies to have this EVS adventure – now I am working as Exchange Assistant in UNA Exchange and supporting youths to create their own adventure by following their dreams. What I would suggest for all young people is to go crazy and do something different for yourselves and be a part of international exchanges! Things are ever changing and every day is another experience with more things to learn. Every time you discover something new you will understand the meaning of freedom!