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Împreună spunem povestea voluntariatului din România!

How to become an explorer through EVS (about EVS#1)

Welcome to the best time of your life! Welcome to EVS! We’re two EVS volunteers staying in Romania for 9 months, as participants in the Knowledge Builders 3 project, hosted by Young Initiative Association. We’d like to share our experiences concerning “how to become an EVS volunteer” in order to offer you the amazing time we are living right now. Let’s start the adventure 😉

First of all, you may ask yourself “What is EVS”? The European Voluntary Service (EVS) is the European Commission’s project that allows young people (from 17 to 30 years old) to spend from 2 weeks to 12 months abroad in volunteering activities in a wide range of fields, such as culture, sports, children, environment and cooperation for development. At the end of your EVS, you’ll receive the Youthpass – a certificate about your activities and learning. You’ll get involved in your hosting association and the local community, you’ll get acquainted to another culture and language. Moreover, you’ll travel a lot and you gonna meet plenty of other volunteers.  You want to know even more? We recommend you the EVS official info page.

The keypoint of EVS is motivation. We asked current EVS volunteers about their reasons. Why did they decide to go abroad? What are the advantages of EVS? What do they like about volunteering?

EVS sounds cool and you are now amazed? Perfect! However, before the best time of your life is going to start there is still a lot of stuff to do. Existential and therefore above all most important is your project. Without a project there is no EVS and without the most suitable project for you which matches with your skills, needs and aims there won’t be such a great time as it could be. So search and choose your project wisely. The questions you ask yourself in the moment reads as follows: How do I find my project?

Well, there are plenty of canals/tools and opportunities to find projects. As a little help we created a list of sites and networks where you can start to search for your projects.

In spite of all the sites and links we here, bear in mind this is not a comprehensive list. There are even more networks, websites and Facebook pages/groups you can use in order to identify the most suitable project for you. Do research on your own as well, ask (former) volunteers, seek for advice with your sending organization.

During your research, be patient and search constantly. It’ll take some time until you find your project of interest, but it’s worth investing this effort. In order not to get lost, it’d be advisible to set some priorities. Before you start searching, ask yourself questions like:

  1. What do I want to achieve and which projects offer the best opportunities to fulfill this?
  2. In which country/countries do I want to do my EVS?
  3. Do I want to stay in a village or a city?
  4. In which area do I want to volunteer?
  5. How long do I want to stay abroad?

It’s important you answer these questions before you start searching for projects, otherwise you’ll lose time and perhaps you won’t find the most suitable project for yourself. However, don’t be scared. If you know what you are looking for, you’ll find the “project of your dreams” for sure. Even if you’re not 100% convinced to do an EVS we’d recommend you just to browse some project descriptions. According to our own experience the project research is very exciting too and we got amazed by plenty of interested projects. We wish you`ll enjoy the process, too!

Once a project found, you’re not at the end of your way, yet. In the article to follow, you will discover the application process and our tips&tricks on how to master it. Watch videos with current volunteers talk about how they structured their motivation letter or prepared themselves for the Skype interview. Also, we invite you to read about what hosting organizations expect from you (and your application). You’ll be well-prepared afterwards, promised!

This article was written by Nicole Sartori and Henri Koblischke, EVS volunteers for Young Initiative Association.

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