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Ioana Ungureanu

Sending Organization: A.C.T.O.R. Romania ; +40 0734722236

27 March 2016

Pistes Solidaires

Dear Sir or Madam,

To begin with, I must confess that discovering your organization and your calls for
volunteers represented a joyful and hopeful encounter for me. As I read your
presentation of the organization on the Pistes Solidaires website I remembered of
the NGO (though it was one which did not work with EVS) for whom I had
volunteered a long time, and this memory boosted my thirst of re-becoming a
volunteer. Furthermore, there is to be said that the first thing that caught my sight
was your call regarding English linguistic cafes, but since I was not eligible for it, I
read up some more and came across your call for organizing cultural events related
to music and performing arts in Bayonne. And so it turned out that this precise
volunteering position is the one which interests me the most.

Before stating my beliefs and attitudes related to this project, I would like to
properly introduce myself. Right now, I am a 21 year old student in her final year
studying English and Romanian languages and literatures. Beyond this classic
labeling description, I can say some more about myself: even though I am an
introvert, nobody believes me to be so, because I always am in need of peoples
stories and peoples company. One can say that I am a good listener. From time to
time, I even record people talking in the street just because I find their stories and
chit-chats interesting. A hidden cause of me being passionate of doing such things
may be the fact that ever since I was a school girl I imagined myself to be a writer,
to create stories, to play with words and characters. I guess that right now I am in
that phase of a writers life when reality is much more captivating than fantasy so I
try as much as I can to collect bits of reality for a later use of them. In connection to
my attempt of recording reality is also a very much beloved hobby of mine,
photography. I grew up in a family which used an old rangefinder film camera for
the family albums, until the late 2000s, so I always viewed the action of taking
photographs as something of high importance. Also, considering the fact that the
films which were used had to be developed, each photo that I held before my eyes
constituted a little surprise. This sense of ``surprising`` reality followed me all the
time. When I realized that I am interested in taking photos, I bought myself a digital
camera so that I could take more photos every time I wanted to do so. This camera
was followed soon enough by a professional one which offered my photos much
more clarity, and many more megapixels and I kindly ask you to sense the irony in
these last words of mine. I did not mention until now that the photographic area
which interests me the most is street photography, since Bucharest is a city which is
very generous in its socio-urban sights to offer. Eventually, I had to come back to
my 40 year old rangefinder camera the digital ones helped me train the eye of the
observer, but killed the magic of photography. When taking photos with a
rangefinder, I take much care in choosing my subjects, and arranging my light
settings. And the best thing is the surprise which awaits me after developing the
film rolls. There is much to be said about my relationship with photography and
writing. The reason for which I wrote about them lies in the fact that these two
things shaped my personality in a way: I am always paying attention to what is
going on around me, and even though I may be a (day) dreamer, I have an urgent
need to put my thoughts and ideas in order and to give them a shape (either a
visual or textual one).

I have decided to apply for EVS, because I am in desperate need of something new.
Until several months ago, when asked what I wanted to do with my (professional)
life I would have answered that I am looking forward to becoming a university
professor, a literary critic and, well, mainly, someone important in the world of
letters. But I realized that being involved with academics only made me feel
miserable and unhappy. I could write a successful critical essay regarding
Shakespeares Hamlet, however, the process of researching and writing could never
make me feel personally, rather than professionally, accomplished. And besides all
that, writing critical papers never compares to creative writing and as far as I am
concerned I came to the conclusion that it actually kills off creative writing. So if I
thought that I had an idea of how my future should look like a little time ago, now I
sincerely do not have the slightest idea. I want to take a break from all that critical
inquiries mean. Moreover, I want to use my time doing something related to culture
and arts. Organizing such events sounds the right choice for me, for the moment. I
just want to try something different, and maybe gain a detailed perspective on what
I want to do with my life. Travelling is another reason for choosing EVS. I never had
the chance to travel outside Romania, and France has always been a sort of center
of attention for all bohemians out there. Of course, there is another reason for
wanting to travel to France. Although I have some basic notions of French and I have
no problem in listening or reading in French, I feel that I want to dedicate time to the
proficient learning of this language and how else could I do it better than by
actually living in this country for a while?
My experiences with volunteering have been very insightful. The first time I have
ever been a volunteer was during high school, when I volunteered for the National
Writers Association. Together with other volunteers and our coordinator, we
organized and participated at literature classes held by contemporary writers at the
associations center. At the end of such classes, we would remain in an office with
the writer and listen to his (or her) thoughts on writing and contemporary literature.
It was a unique experience for a high school student back then and I got to see
some important Romanian cultural figures in flesh and bones. Another unforgettable
volunteering experience was at UniCo, Romania, which is the acronym for the
University of Children. Every summer UniCo opens the doors of several faculties in
Bucharest for school pupils who want to experience the life of a student. Usually,
university professors create special workshops for the little ones, and I had the luck
to hold such a workshop myself. I was in charge of three workshops based on
creative communication, during which together with the children we invented and
played all sorts of linguistic and communication related puns. However, I spent the
most important part of my volunteering time at A.R.T. Fusion, Romania. That was
the place where I learned about non-formal educational methods such as street
animation, street theater and human library. Together with other volunteers I
organized and took part in street campaigns which promoted a sustainable lifestyle,
responsible consumerism, and human rights, equality and diversity in cities such as
Brasov and Bucharest. I took part in what seemed to me the most powerful and
insightful experience Ive ever had and that is the human library. Due to the
experience of being a living book myself, I decided to interview other living books
and collect their stories in something which later in print had the name ``The
Stories of Diversity``. Volunteering for A.R.T. Fusion made me evolve from being an
individualist while working, to that of loving to work together with a group of people
who have a common purpose. Even though I started as a volunteer there and I
ended being a volunteer coordinator, I cant tell that Ive ever felt there was a
difference. And this is precisely because of the wonderful feeling of flow that I had
every time we had a project on our hands and had to work it out. It always felt as if
we were part of a bigger picture and that definitely felt good.

With respect to your project now, I think that organizing cultural and artistic events
would constitute a sort of next-level experience for me. I am very much interested
in anything that has to do with contemporary music and performative arts. I follow
and attend such events in my city. Some of the last that Ive attended and which I
found very inspirational were the performances of the contemporary artists Maja
Osojnik and Joanna Duda, both foreign artists invited on special cultural occasions to
our city. I am a music lover and I am always looking to find out about new artists,
new trends and new shows. Of course, I am interested not only in the new, but in
the old as well. Music has its magic, no matter if it is done by Gregorio Allegri, John
Lennon or Alice Coltrane. Organizing musical events and learning how to deal with
the logistics of such events would enlighten and delight me, as I would surely do
something that makes me grow personally as well as professionally. Regarding the
part related to working in the ESN office, I have to say that I am quite accustomed
with the ESN environment. Although I havent done anything officially for the ESN
UniBuc here in Bucharest, I did help my friend who is the vice-president of ESN
UniBuc at different activities. I offered touristic guidance for a couple of Erasmus
students and I helped at organizing events such as themed parties and International
Dinners. My presence in ESN UniBuc was more like that of a visitor who also offers a
helpful hand and it was first and foremost due to my friend. I do believe that I am fit
for the volunteering position that you are offering at the UPPA Cultural Service
because my passions recommend me together my past volunteering and personal
experiences, and last but not least my urgent desire to get out of my comfort zone
and to experiment a new perspective on culture and arts.

To conclude, I firstly must say that I wish for this project to be accepted by the
French National Agency and secondly that I am looking forward for your answer and
for further information. Please find attached here, as well as in my CV, my contact
information. I would be more than pleased to discuss with you or to answer any of
your questions!

Best wishes,
Ioana Ungureanu