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I do not know for sure if Macedonia has chosen me or I have chosen it, but I think that we both needed this challenge, this exchange of experience and “a way out” of the comfort zone. Although my experience started in the middle of the summer, it was living inside of me since the winter. Prilep is my host town and, in a way, it tries to gain my sympathy, I have to admit it's succeeding although the beginning was not promising.



Now, after 3 months of Macedonian style of living, volunteering and missing home, I look on the first month as a story that I will tell to my grandchildren one day. Because I have to admit, during the first month I was that ”child” who did not know how to swim and was thrown into the middle of the sea. Psychologists would call it “an adaptation period”, but I call it “surviving in Neverland”.


You can see tobacco everywhere, on the streets, in the yards, in every area of the town. People smoke a lot and everywhere, at any time. It was difficult to understand why people were staring at me. And I understood that this is due to the culture differences. In my country, Moldova, it is considered impolite if you stare at people. I learnt how to be tolerant towards this characteristic of the local people.


But time passes by and over the next 2 months, I have discovered another part of Macedonia which I love enormously. Beautiful people, passionate about what they do, involved in the local organization and who are ready to help you at any time. And apparently, the presence of the tobacco does not bother me so much like it did at the beginning. I even discovered great places that I will definitely miss when I go back home.


I have to admit, I'm a lucky person because I am surrounded with great people here in Prilep, as I am in my home town.

The opportunity to be a volunteer, is a good chance to meet different people and their culture. This will make a great impact on your future development as a person. It will make you better, it will strengthen you, it will help you to be more open-minded, to be independent, peaceful, you will have the courage to achieve your goals and dreams.  


Today, Prilep is my second home, and I am its adopted daughter, and I feel enormously appreciated. Macedonia is an important chapter of my life, and this beautiful chapter has just begun.



Written by: Ana Creţu

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