Sunday, 12 June 2016

My experience in Šibenik #1 - Why am I here? Eurodyssée project & Belgium culture crisis

You have probably noticed - my Instagram and on this blog - that I'm not in Brussels anymore, but in Croatia, and I will stay there until mid-August. Why? How? Let me explain to you what is happening in my life.
 My situation & the Belgian culture crisis
After 5 years of an Archaeology and Art History Bachelor and Master degree, and another Master's degree in England, in the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas, I have been struggling for almost 3 years to find a job. Yes. Three years. And after a long period of unemployment, you really start to feel useless in your society. The same questions keep popping in your mind; Why did I sacrifice so much to earn my degree? What is wrong with me? What should I do differently? Am I really capable? 
Then you apply for more and more jobs out of your skill set - just because you really need money, let's be honest -, but you understand quickly that; why would they take you if they can take somebody who's been doing that assistant/secretary/administrative job since they're 18, because they were clever enough to start working at 18 and not enroll in a 5/6 years long university degree in the hope of having a good job? No, you're stuck with your beautiful Master's degree, your endless volunteer experience, but nobody is willing to hire you. Yes, extensive volunteer experience, because throughout my 3 years of unemployment, I accumulated different internships in museums and cultural institutions. My goal was to "gain experience" so future employers could trust me more to hire me, and also to build connections in the cultural world. Oh I built those connections, I'm always friendly and motivated with the people I work with. But they were all honest with me, and they all told me "we would love to hire young graduate like you, but there is just no money". Awesome.

The state of culture in Belgium is a disaster. Budget was cut -30%, when it rains, it also actually rains inside major national museums of Brussels because of so little investment in federal institutions, if somebody goes to retirement, they are not looking for a successor, his position will just be given as more responsibility to a colleague. One of my favorite museum, the Cinquantenaire, even had to use crowdfunding to buy some ipad for a temporary exhibition! What the hell? This is not acceptable. And the worst thing is that they need people, they would love to hire new brains and a young generation of workers, but they can't! It's so frustrating because there is so much potential and amazing collections just sleeping in Belgian museums. We have such a rich heritage, and it's left abandoned. It drives me crazy. If my parents would have been rich, I would have probably continued with a self-funded PhD to be able to work for the Belgian heritage and collections, but I have bills to pay, and unfortunately, my family doesn't own a castle!

For people who are thinking "oh, she's too picky, she's not looking hard enough for a job", I'm not lazy when it comes to that. I want to work. I apply to so many job announcements, I do tests, everything. And don't forget, I get controlled every 6 months by our lovely ONEM and they check every thing, especially what you applied to, and how many times a week. Fortunately, I always got a positive evaluation, but it's hard work. They're not playing around. 

Eurodyssée? An opportunity
So, one day, I receive an email through Actiris inviting me to have a look at the Eurodyssée project offers. "Eurodyssée" is a European project for unemployed youth. You can enroll in a traineeship of 3 or 6 months in another European town, gain experience, earn a little money and travel. I was interested! Why not?! What did I have to lose
The first job announcement that first catches my eyes is something about public relationship in the cultural field for on of the Azores island that are part of Portugal. The offer was tempting, but I felt like I didn't had all the skills to apply (I never studied communication, but I was up for the challenge!). I applied to it, which opened the door to the first step of the enrollment in the Eurodyssée projet:  an appointment/interview with your local Eurodyssée.  During that week leading up to the interview, I went back on the Eurodyssée list of offers, and found the perfect internship for me. Archaeology Assistant in an Museum. Hallelujah. It shined through. It was made for me. So, a few days later during the interview, I changed my internship to that one - and a little google image search on "Šibenik - Croatia"  help to make the choice, omygod it looked so beautiful-, and never looked back.
Even though this "job" would take me away from home/family/friends for 3months, it's only temporary, and it sounded like an amazing opportunity. It gave me back hope that my studies were not just of waste of my time, and that something in the future is possible. The job I dreamt of is not just an utopia, something unreachable, it can be real. Being employed by a museum while doing your own research is not a myth, it can still exist! Just not in Belgium right now.
So on the 7th of May, I left everything behind for 3months, and started my little adventure. I'm going with the flow, not overthinking anything, and I'm just planning to enjoy this work and explore the surroundings!
Now I m almost 28, I'm gonna live in a house with two housemates, I have to go back to a student lifestyle instead of building an adult life, I can't plan my future, but I'm gonna make the best of this abnormal situation. I'm gonna see the positive side of things, meet amazing people, see beautiful landscapes, visit brilliant archaeological sites, and enjoy myself - while sharing my experiences with you of course-. 
Let's go and explore the beautiful city of Šibenik


  1. Bon courage pour ta future recherche d'emploie et profite bien en Croatie. Cela sera une bonne expérience.

    1. Merci, il faudra du courage, mais on y croit toujours <3 :)

  2. Vie étudiante forever !!! Ca a l'air bien joli comme endroit! Profites en bien!

  3. Coucou! Je comprends et compatis avec ta situation en Belgique... La difficulté pour trouver du boulot pour les jeunes avec un master ou plus en poche en Belgique est bien réelle, c'est d'ailleurs pour prévenir des mois (ou plus) de recherche d'emploi (comme tout mes amis) que j'ai en partie émigré... C'est bien triste qu'un pays ferme tellement ses portes aux gradués, ca promets pour le futur. Dans mon cas, je ne me vois pas du tout revenir en Belgique et galérer pour trouver un boulot sous-payé et sous mes qualifications...
    Je te souhaite du bonheur en Croatie, du courage et puis d'apprendre le plus possible :)

    1. Hey :D rha, ça fait plaisir quand les gens comprennent... la situation est tellement triste, je retourne en Belgique en septembre et j'ai déjà des boules d'angoisses rien que d'y penser! Tu as choisi d'émigrer où? :)

    2. Je suis partie quelques mois pour un boulot à Montréal, puis 2 ans à Porto mais maintenant je vis en Allemagne :) Je ne regrette absolument pas mon choix, puis Allemagne/Belgique, c'est pas trop loin si j'ai un coup de blues :3

    3. Oh c'est cool! Tu m'étonnes que tu ne regrettes pas ton choix :D