group of volunteers

Giedrius Stonis

For Giedrius Stonis, from Lithuania, his volunteering placement in Cardiff was an opportunity of a lifetime and his first time travelling abroad. From spreadsheets to seagulls, this experience has enabled him to improve IT skills, increase cultural awareness and help a community in Wales. 

 

Young people embraced in a circle

 

Giedrius Stonis, volunteer
Giedrius Stonis, volunteer

The idea of volunteering abroad always sounded appealing, but he did not know where to begin. Coming from a rural and disadvantaged part of Lithuania, Giedrius was unsure about the opportunities available to him.

Thanks to European Voluntary Service (EVS) volunteers in his local community library, he was able to find out about the initiative and quickly located a placement in the UK with Language Academy Wales. Volunteering experiences like this can now be supported by the European Solidarity Corps, which funds opportunities for young people to volunteer or work in projects in their own country or abroad, benefiting communities and people around Europe.

The 26 year-old adds:

“I never had the chance to travel before or experience a new culture. Therefore, I challenged myself to apply for a placement and experience something new.”

It was his first time travelling outside of Lithuania, so naturally he was anxious at the start. Despite that, Giedrius said, the experience was overwhelmingly positive. He had the opportunity to learn about a new culture and work on projects that could benefit the local community in which he lived. 

“I really feel as though I am doing something useful and making a contribution on my placement.”

Improving skills

His placement as part of the CARE (Community Activities and Rewarding Experiences) project, run by Language Academy Wales, lasted 10 months, where Giedrius got involved in activities with other volunteers from Italy, Moldova and Lithuanian. 

They took part in a range of office-based tasks and supported other projects run by the organisation, which aim to help unemployed young people in the local community through training and non-formal education.

During his experience, Giedrius received training to improve his abilities in Excel and his soft skills such as leadership and management, problem solving, effective communication and customer care. By sharing his ideas and experiences from Lithuania, the placement also provided colleagues in Wales with an insight into good practices from abroad.

I have always been quite a shy person so travelling and settling in to a new country and cultural environment have really built up my confidence. Although the placement has definitely been a challenge, now I feel more independent and much more comfortable being away from home.

The British way of life

Giedrius got to grips with the British way of life and enjoyed his placement in Cardiff.

“There was a good opportunity for me to discover multicultural lifestyle in Wales and England, see native and foreign people’s lifestyles, and habits (good or not). Of course, see castles, greedy seagulls, improve my English, see people from Spain, Italy, France, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Turkey, Moldova, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Poland and much more”. 

His competences, professionalism, self-confidence and commitment to self-development have significantly increased thanks to the experience with Language Academy Wales. 

“Today I can say that Europe has become small to me as my native country, Lithuania”, he said.

* * *

Giedrius Stonis

I Giedrius Stonis o Lithwania, bu ei leoliad gwirfoddoli yng Nghaerdydd yn gyfle unwaith mewn oes a hwn fu'r tro cyntaf iddo deithio i wlad dramor.  O daenlenni i wylanod, mae'r profiad hwn wedi ei alluogi i wella ei sgiliau TG, cynyddu ei ymwybyddiaeth ddiwylliannol a helpu cymuned yng Nghymru.

Roedd y syniad o wirfoddoli mewn gwlad dramor wastad wedi apelio, ond nid oedd yn gwybod ble i ddechrau.  Mae Giedrius yn dod o ardal wledig a difreintiedig yn Lithwania ac nid oedd yn siŵr am y cyfleoedd sydd ar gael iddo.

Diolch i wirfoddolwyr y Gwasanaeth Gwirfoddol Ewropeaidd (EVS) yn ei lyfrgell gymunedol leol, clywodd am y fenter a llwyddodd i sicrhau lleoliad yn y DU yn gyflym gyda Language Academy Wales. Gall cyfleoedd gwirfoddoli fel hyn gael eu cynorthwyo gan y Corfflu Cydsefyll Ewropeaidd nawr, sy'n ariannu cyfleoedd i bobl ifanc wirfoddoli neu weithio ar brosiectau yn eu gwlad eu hunain neu mewn gwlad dramor, gan gynnig budd i gymunedau a phobl ar draws Ewrop.

Ychwanegodd y gŵr 26 oed:

“Nid oeddwn fyth wedi cael y cyfle i deithio o'r blaen na phrofi diwylliant newydd.  Felly, heriais fy hun i wneud cais am leoliad ac i brofi rhywbeth newydd.”  Hon oedd y tro cyntaf iddo deithio y tu allan i Lithwania, felly roedd hi'n naturiol ei fod yn teimlo'n ofidus ar y dechrau.  Er hynny, dywedodd Giedrius y bu'r profiad yn un hynod o gadarnhaol.  Cafodd y cyfle i ddysgu am ddiwylliant newydd a gweithio ar brosiectau y gallent gynnig budd i'r gymuned leol yr oedd yn byw ynddi.

“Rydw i'n teimlo fel pe bawn yn gwneud rhywbeth defnyddiol ac yn gwneud cyfraniad gwirioneddol yn ystod fy lleoliad.”

Gwella sgiliau

Roedd ei leoliad fel rhan o brosiect CARE (Gweithgareddau Cymunedol a Phrofiadau Gwerth Chweil), a gynhelir gan Language Academy Wales, wedi para 10 mis, lle y bu Giedrius yn cymryd rhan mewn gweithgareddau gyda gwirfoddolwyr eraill o'r Eidal, Moldofa a Lithwania.

Buont yn cymryd rhan mewn amrediad o dasgau swyddfa ac yn cynorthwyo prosiectau eraill sy'n cael eu rhedeg gan y sefydliad, sy'n ceisio helpu pobl ifanc sy'n ddi-waith yn y gymuned leol trwy gyfrwng hyfforddiant ac addysg heb fod yn ffurfiol.

Yn ystod ei brofiad, cafodd Giedrius hyfforddiant er mwyn gwella'i allu wrth ddefnyddio Excel a gyda'r sgiliau meddal fel arweinyddiaeth a rheolaeth, datrys problemau, cyfathrebu effeithiol a gofal cwsmeriaid.  Trwy rannu ei syniadau a'i brofiadau o Lithwania, bu'r lleoliad yn ffordd o gynnig dirnadaeth o arferion da mewn gwledydd tramor i gydweithwyr yng Nghymru hefyd.

Rydw i wastad wedi bod yn berson eithaf swil, felly mae teithio a setlo mewn amgylchedd diwylliannol a gwlad newydd wedi meithrin fy hyder yn fawr.  Er y bu'r lleoliad yn her, rydw i'n teimlo'n fwy annibynnol nawr ac yn llawer mwy cyffyrddus ynghylch treulio amser i ffwrdd o'm cartref.


Y ffordd o fyw Brydeinig

Ymgyfarwyddodd Giedrius â'r ffordd o fyw Brydeinig a mwynhaodd ei leoliad yng Nghaerdydd.  

“Bu'n gyfle da i mi ddarganfod ffordd o fwy amlddiwylliannol yng Nghymru a Lloegr, gweld ffyrdd o fyw pobl dramor a brodorol, a'u harferion (da neu ddim).  Wrth gwrs, gweld cestyll, gwylanod barus, gwella fy sgiliau Saesneg, gweld pobl o Sbaen, yr Eidal, Ffrainc, Gweriniaeth Tsiec, Slofenia, Twrci, Moldofa, Yemen, Sawdi-Arabia, Gwlad Pwyl a llawer mwy.”  

Mae ei allu, ei broffesiynoldeb, ei hunan-hyder a'i ymrwymiad i hunan-ddatblygiad wedi gwella'n sylweddol diolch i'r profiad gyda Language Academy Wales.

“Heddiw, gallaf ddweud bod Ewrop wedi dod yn fach i mi fel fy mamwlad, Lithwania”, dywedodd.

A oes gennych chi ddiddordeb mewn cael gwybod mwy am gyfleoedd ar gyfer pobl ifanc?
Edrychwch sut y gallwch chi wneud gwahaniaeth.

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