I volunteered in Cerrik, Albania at a Center for children and youth. Cerrik is a small village about 30 minutes from Elbasan which is where I lived while I was volunteering.
I would start my day meeting my coworkers for a coffee and byrek (a delicious savoury pastry). We would commute to the center and once we arrived, I would teach some conversational English to my coworkers. Then I would do some prep work for my English lessons before the children arrived.
The younger children attend their regular school until 11:00am and then they arrive at center around 11:30. We ate lunch together, and afterwards I did an English lesson with two groups of these children (aged 7-10). We mostly sang songs and focused on the alphabet and other basic vocabulary like colours and the weather.
The older youth attend school until 1:00pm and then they arrive at the center around 1:15pm. After their lunch they do their homework and the Staff focus on teaching this group important life skills and problem solving. The older youth (age 15-17) were very eager to learn English. I worked together with another staff member to teach some conversational English to this group.
There is also lots of time to join in other activities outside playing soccer or volleyball, and in the recreation room dancing, or being a part of their band. The Staff are very flexible and supportive so you are free to interact and teach the children whatever you feel comfortable doing.
This was one of the best experiences of my life. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect going into this project but the kindness of the staff and the Albanian people in general was overwhelming and made me feel very valued. I was the first volunteer at this Center and I would definitely recommend others to choose this location because of the generosity and flexibility of the staff, and because of the joy you bring to the Children and Youth who rarely get to meet anyone from outside of Albania.
I had a wonderful experience, thank you Love Volunteers!