‘We are what we do.’
The old classic of ‘giving something back’ is undoubtedly an important one, but people are becoming volunteers for many various reasons. When I began my adventure with EVS, I discovered there are endless motives why young people from all corners of Europe every day get out of their beds for no financial gratification and do the voluntary work. Why? Let’s investigate.
Volunteering can give you the experience to get that job you’ve always dreamed of. It can be the first step back into the world after your life has been turned upside down. Finally, it can connect you to a community, to a network, to new friendships, to yourself. Sounds interesting? Yes, it does and there is so much more to come…
What is the EVS?
EVS (European Voluntary Service) is an international volunteer program funded by the European Commission. It enables all the young people legally resident in Europe, aged between 18 and 30 years, to carry out an international volunteer service in an organization or in a public institution in Europe, Africa, Asia or South America for a period ranging from 2 weeks to 12 months.
Thanks to the intercultural dimension and its non-formal approach, European Voluntary Service is a unique opportunity to come into contact with cultures different from your own and to acquire new skills and abilities useful for your personal and professional growth. You can for example:
- Gain confidence. Volunteering can help you boost confidence by giving you the chance to try something new, expand your comfort zone and build a sense of pride when looking at the progress you have made from the day one till the end of the project.
- Make a difference. It can have a tangible, positive effect on people and contribute to development of local communities and civil society.
- Meet people. Volunteering can help you meet different types of people and make new friends. You will have a chance to improve your intercultural communication skills through contacts with people from various cultures and educational backgrounds.
- Be part of a community. Voluntary service can help you feel part of something bigger than your family or the circle of friends.
- Master new skills. It will help to develop or enhance life-skills through the practical work and allow you to take those competences and knowledge into other areas of your life.
- Learn languages. It is a perfect opportunity to practice languages you already know or learn a new one.
- Take on a challenge. Through volunteering you can challenge yourself to try something different, establish and achieve personal goals and who knows maybe discover hidden talents.
- Have fun!Great majority of volunteers has good time discovering themselves, new environment, country and culture.
How much does it cost?
European Voluntary Service is FREE OF CHARGE Travel expenses, accommodation, food, local transportation, health insurance, language lessons and monthly allowance are covered and financed by the European Commission.
How to choose a good volunteering opportunity?
The key to success is to choose a volunteering opportunity that matches your skills, interests and availability. Therefore, once you decide to volunteer, the first thing you need to ask yourself is:
- What are my goals and expectations?
- How much time do I want dedicate?
- What kind of tasks would I like to undertake?
- Which skills can I offer?
The type of project you participate in is up to you! There are thousands of volunteer positions available not only in Europe but also Asia, Africa and South America. Volunteers can choose from accredited EVS projects that are gathered in the database. Projects can focus on a variety of themes and areas, such as art and cultural heritage, media and communication, youth, sports, leisure, social care for the elderly/ the disabled/ the immigrants, civil protection, environmental protection and education, rural development and development cooperation.