By: Annalise Cajic
Meet a Global Volunteer in Austria
“I have always wanted to visit this city [Vienna]. And then, I chose this project because I saw this opportunity to work in [an] office, to see how things are done… [h]ere, people are really really friendly,” says Marija Milicevic. As a Global Volunteer, she is working at the Wiener Tafel office to promote and learn about food sustainability.
From Serbia, Marija speaks English as a second language and is practicing her German in Vienna: “you get used to it,” she tells me. “Sometimes they forget that you know English and they start to speak [German] a lot… but it is [good] practice.”
About Wiener Tafel
This non-profit organization collects and redistributes food that would otherwise be thrown away. Wiener Tafel also raises awareness about the effects of excessive food waste on the environment and works to reduce this problem through projects such as “Soup with Sense” and “TafelBox.” This Summer they have taken some AIESEC Global Volunteers under their wing to continue their mission for sustainable consumption and production.
Working at the office
Sharing her experience so far at Wiener Tafel, Marija says:
“I saw how people wish to help others… it really surprises me because in my country, it is not the same situation. They will like to help, but we do not have something like Wiener Tafel to give that opportunity. Definitely after this project I will be more responsible about wasting food.”
She has no previous experience working for an environmental initiative, but says that “after this, I will start to take part in some other volunteer projects.” This opportunity is motivating young people to increase their knowledge about food waste and expand their borders at the same time. Looks like Marija is becoming a better global citizen every day!
Her enthusiasm is inspiring, and there is no shortage of it going around among the volunteers.
Advice for future Global Volunteers
When I ask her if she would be a Global Volunteer again, she says “yes, definitely because during this project I met really really good people and I hope to stay in contact with them. I feel like I am growing up during this project.”
Whether you are learning German or promoting food sustainability, the best way to get good at something is to be immersed in it. When you are saving the planet and becoming a leader (as Marija is), it’s the same deal. Don’t learn about something from afar. Get out of your comfort zone and jump right in.
And doing so alongside people who love to explore and learn is even better.