Christian Styrbæk Kensmark

ChristianDo you know the movie Lost and Found in Armenia? Well, long story short it’s about this guy who, more or less randomly, ends up in Armenia.

Unlike the protagonist of the movie who’s American, I’m from Denmark, or Dania as people like to call it here, and I didn’t get abducted by a plane while I was parachuting in Turkey, but just like him I suddenly found myself in an alien country with a strange language, culture, and customs. “How did I end up here?”, I kept asking myself in the start.

Since the summer of 2016 where I participated in an international volunteer project in France, I knew that I wanted to spend my year before university abroad by volunteering. To be honest, in the start of my search of projects in foreign countries, Armenia never appeared as an option to me, but I was rather late looking for a EVS-project, and when my Danish sending-organization told me that an organization in Armenia was looking for a volunteer, I immediately wrote an application, and about two weeks afterwards I found myself walking in the streets of Gyumri. So yeah, my arrival may not be as adventurous as the protagonist’s arrival in the movie, but for me my time here so far has been an adventure as well.

YIC certainly has given me many opportunities to learn and develop existing and new skills, which I’m sure will be useful in the future. Of course, with these opportunities I’ve also met many challenges, especially in the start when I didn’t know anything about the Armenian language or culture. I choose the word challenges instead of problems because when you volunteer it is vital to have a positive attitude. The challenges I’ve met have matured me and given me courage and unlimited curiosity to seek new challenges in places, where just one year ago I wouldn’t have imagined myself. Some say that volunteering is a waste of time because you don’t earn any money or get educated, but I strongly disagree. It is true that you don’t earn any money, but what you in return for volunteering is much more valuable than money. When you volunteer, you get to meet new people to share your ideas with, you develop new useful skills and you help beautiful ideas and initiatives come to life. The experience you gain from volunteering, whether it is local or international, is unique and shouldn’t be underestimated.

I will encourage any youngster to at least consider the possibly of volunteering. You will not regret it.

When I return to Denmark this summer, my will be over, and I will start my studies, but I will never stop volunteering in my free time and holidays.

Christian Styrbæk Kensmark

22 years old


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