Volunteering in EUSA, Ljubljana

I am Zrinka, a 23 years old student, and I have completed one-year ESC programme working in European University Sports Association – EUSA in Ljubljana, Slovenia. I choose this project because I have been involved in sports since I was 3 years old, firstly as an athlete and with time I also became a Karate referee, assisted coaches of my sports club in training our youngest members, and started volunteering at European Universities Games in 2016 in Zagreb which lead me to ESC in Ljubljana 3 years later.
I started to volunteer at EG 2016 which was an EUSA event, and I loved it, so every following year I volunteered at either European or world universities championship across Croatia and Europe. I spent a year in Ljubljana living and working with my 2 flatmates from France and Poland in the EUSA Office. We were assigned to different departments but together we collaborated on Erasmus+ projects and EUSA activities with our wonderful colleagues. We are a small but truly international office where is a real joy to work. I choose this project because it is about organizing university sports events all across Europe and diverse projects that involve young people which I am really interested in. I loved every day on and off work, I enjoyed and learned a lot. Learned about the sports industry, ESC program, Erasmus+ projects, Slovenia, Ljubljana and a lot about myself as well as this was my first time living away from home. Slovenia is full of beautiful green landscapes, blue waters and breathtaking mountains, I enjoyed hiking and exploring them and since I enjoy photography there was no lack of great motifs. Another thing that made this a unique experience were the people I shared it with, so I am grateful for everyone that I met during this year. [I really don’t have a favorite quote, and this is not a quote but I agree with this statement: great things happen once we step out of our comfort zone.] Hosting organization European University Sports Association (EUSA) is the governing body for university and college sport in Europe, with 46 national university sports member associations. As a pan-European non- governmental organisation, it links national university sport federations, universities, teams, individual competitors, volunteers and other partners throughout Europe. The EUSA Institute is a non-profit non-governmental entity, created by EUSA for the purposes of developing university sports, organizing sports events, carrying out sports activities and projects and providing education in sports at university level. The main aim of the EUSA Institute is to support development of university sport in Slovenia and Europe. It carries out professional, technical and organizational tasks aimed at providing education in sports at university level. EUSA is the licensing body for the European Universities Championships and European Universities Games, which are organised in alternating years. They are proud to have been partners in several EU-funded projects and initiatives on the topics of:
  • Gender Equality: “SCORE – Strengthening Coaching with the Objective to Raise Equality”, “ENACT – Empowered nation” and “GETZ – Gender Equality Toolkit for generation Z”
  • Dual Career: “EMPATIA – Education model for parents of athletes in academics” and “Smart Sport”
  • Safeguarding in Sport: “Prevention of sexualized violence in Sports – Impulses for an open, secure and sound sporting environment in Europe” and “VOICE – Voices for Truth and Dignity”
  • Anti-doping: “EADIN – European Anti-Doping Initiative”
  • Volunteering: European Voluntary Service and European Solidarity Corps
  • HEPA: European Week of Sport #beactive
Zrinka’s daily tasks included supporting Sports Dept. in their everyday tasks, administration while conducting research, create databases and special focus was dedicated to organisation of the European Universities Games (EUG) in Belgrade, Serbia in departments of volunteer management and registrations while managing travel arrangements for EUSA staff. Also, she participated in ongoing Erasmus+ projects representing EUSA as a partner or coordinator in transnational meetings in Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary. During the summer after the initial covid pandemic situation, she represented EUSA at the FISU World Forum 2020 held online where she participated in student project competition. Project was focused on mental health in higher educational institutions; dedicated to determine how many students, professors and coaches are in one of the stages of burn out and then aiming to address the situation with mental health workshops and sport activities as it can have positive impacts on physical and mental health. My personal project My personal project was actually Erasmus+ project that I created and wrote alongside my volunteer colleagues in EUSA. Being an athlete from a very young age, and now a student involved in university sports, I understand the importance of nutrition in a student athlete. Specially the lack of nutritional support in student sport and in any smaller, less popular sports students engage in. Having this in mind, we decided to write a 2 year Erasmus+ project dedicated to improving education on nutrition, and sports nutrition in context of student athletes, for a well-rounded approach to develop individual’s healthy lifestyle. This is a project that will not only focus on athlete’s needs, but also on educating an average student on healthy nutritional habits available for every student to implement. Also, as a student of a field related to nutrition science, as well as an athlete, being an author of such a project is truly rewarding. 10 things I did for the first time: I climbed Triglav (almost to the top) I visited Malta and Serbia Been to an Ice Hockey match Took part in Erasmus+ projects Lived with flatmates Went swimming in the Slovenian sea side and rivers Walked on a frozen lake Visited Bled and Bohinj Took French classes Worked in an international office