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Izabella Eck, the new international volunteer — Nice to meet you!

My name is Izabella Eck and a I’m a volunteer from Hungary. I arrived in Tartu a week ago, so this is my introduction to everyone. When I’m not volunteering 1500 kilometres away from my home, I am just a 23-year-old university student in Budapest. 

Volunteers posing.
21. Jan Kaidi-Lisa Kivisalu
Izabella Eck (right)
Before coming to Estonia, I was an intern in Veszprém, which is another European Capital of Culture city (VEB2023) and the twin town of Tartu. I’m going to spend ten months here with the Tartu 2024 Foundation to help their work and to create a connection with Veszprém.When I started volunteering, I didn’t know what to expect, but now I think that it was one of the best decisions I have made. I fully support the whole volunteering programme and I would like to inspire other people to participate. I want to encourage more people to try volunteering and to look at it from another perspective and not just call it ‘working for free’.

Since I am the first international volunteer from VEB2023, I try to be an example for those who also want to experience something new. I would like to give them all the information to start a journey like this because it’s not as easy as it seems. It would be great if we could create a network between the two countries to help and learn from each other.During my stay, I want to write my thesis on European Capitals of Culture to finish my studies in Hungary. This initiative is a great opportunity for each city to improve economically but I also want to analyse it’s impact on tourism. My experience from home is that very few people know what ECoC actually means, and I want to change that here and also in Veszprém. I hope that I can help the team of Tartu 2024 to be successful in their project.

Izabella and VEB2023 team

For the ten months with the Tartu 2024 Foundation I will be a social media volunteer. To be honest, I am a beginner when it comes to this topic on a professional way, but my expectation is that by the end of this year I will be more advanced. I can’t wait to meet every member of the group and work together, learn from them, and use their advice in my future career.

I would also like to improve as a person while I’m here. I’m planning to learn about the people who live here, their culture, their habits. I can’t wait to learn the language. Who knows, maybe my last article will be in Estonian. I expect to face many of obstacles during this time, but I’d like to think of them as opportunities to grow. This situation is great to push my limits and learn to fix the problems myself. I hope I can meet a lot of new people, make friends and maybe professional connections. I also want to travel across Estonia and visit many cities.

After 10 months I don’t want to look back and say that I was just a tourist here. I want to be like a real Estonian citizen, celebrate the national holidays and live by their habits and traditions.