Blog: My first month of being in Edinburgh was interesting to say the least...

This blog was written by Griet Haegemans, our most recent Belgian intern who has been working with ACOSVO over the past three months. She shares her surreal experience from an evacuation on her second night in Edinburgh to working with us during a global pandemic.


I always wanted to go abroad because, you know, why not? Delicious food, new people, funny stories to tell your future kids, … Deciding where to go was a bit more complicated, though. Since I love everything about the English language, it seemed obvious for me to go to the United Kingdom. However, with 2020 being the year in which the Brexit took place, I had my doubts regarding whether thewould still let me in or not. Fortunately, I managed to get to Edinburgh without any problems. And so, my adventure abroad began ...


Before I started my internship, I had no clue what to expect as I didn’t have any experience in the working field. I am very thankful to the ACOSVO team, they immediately treated me as one of their own, and despite mistakes they always kept encouraging me.  


My first month of being in Edinburgh was interesting to say the least. It was the second night of my stay when my entire building had to be evacuated due to a fire at two in the morning. On a more positive note, I was also able to attend The Gathering in Glasgow with ACOSVO in my first week of working with this amazing team. I was completely immersed in the world of voluntary organisations and learnt so much that day. On top of that, I also attended a wonderful Staff Planning Day during which we got to know each other better, which was absolutely lovelyIn week three of my internship, everyone started getting more and more worried about COVID-19.


As we all know, the corona virus made its way to the United Kingdom around March 2020. For this reason, after having worked for ACOSVO for four weeks I was urged to return to Belgium two months earlier than I had anticipated. Luckily, ACOSVO immediately assured me I could continue my internship in the form of teleworking. I quickly rescheduled my flight back and before I knew it, I was back home.   


I know most of you reading my blog also had to change your way of working due to COVID-19. That is why I do not need to explain how stressful it can be to find yourself in a completely unknown situationI think we have all experienced something similarLuckily, I got all the support I needed and more from ACOSVO. It surprised me how fast and seamlessly ACOSVO adapted to the situation and continued supporting the third sector leaders. I couldn’t have wished for a better company to do my internship in. 


I completed nine weeks of internship at home. That gave me plenty of time to work on tasks such as the Biteable on the COVID-19 situationputting together the Member Survey and analysing this as well. No two days were the same, my tasks were so diverse. I really appreciate ACOSVO for giving me the opportunity to choose what kinds of tasks I wanted to work on


Here is what I learnt from this wonderful experience: do not hesitate to do the things you want to do just because things might not go as planned, because that is just life. Take a chance and you might just end up in a wonderful team like ACOSVO that will support you regardless of the situation.