- 8 months, we were in Spain working as home tutors and other things that came up out there. Many of you know that situation. It was not in our plans to leave Spain, at least not so soon, but the picture was not very encouraging.
Finally the solution came with Ana, Malva's cousin, who had just returned from Estonia after a year working there thanks to European Voluntary Service (European Voluntary Service). We began to investigate and soon realized this would be the next step. That's how we ended up working in Baia Mare (Romania).
If something has struck us was to see how little EVS is known in Spain. Moreover when you consider how popular it is in other countries and the few job opportunities that the young people have today.
Therefore, we will take stock of what has been the experience for us and provide you a "Complete Guide" about the European Voluntary Service:
WHAT IS IT?
- It is an international voluntary service ..
- Founded and supported by the European Commission.
- It can last everything between 2 weeks and 12 months depending on the project.
At the word volunteering you can have a wrong idea of what is EVS. It is not an NGO, although some projects have a social theme, EVS has as main objective the volunteer's personal learning: acquiere new skills or implement and develop what you already had.
WHO CAN PARTICIPATE?
- Youngsters aged between 18 and 30 years old who are ready for a new experience.
One of the best things of the EVS is the great biodiversity that you will find. For example, in our project, we are more or less 30 Volunteers from 15 different countries. Some people do not reach the 20 years old and see the EVS as an experience before starting university. There are also more senior people (+25, without offending anyone) who have finished their studies and are looking for a change or a kind of break. Everyone has their reason, What is yours?
Costume party for Raquel's Birthday, one of the Spanish volunteers.
As we said before there are so many reasons to do a voluntary service, but given what we know, we could establish that the EVS is mainly done:
- If you have finished your studies (high school or university) and you are unsure of what you want to do, but want to continue learning and gaining experience.
- If you are trying to find a job, but you do not get it and want to do something productive.
In any case EVS is always a new direction: new city, new friends, new language ... it's a great opportunity to grow personally, academically and professionally.
To give you an idea, in an interview with other volunteers we ask them to describe their experiences in a word and these were some results: Freedom, inspiration, tolerance, people, fun, adventure, learning ...
Note that at the end of the project received a document called YOUTHPASS in which will be reflected all the activities, skills and competences acquired during EVS.
It is a nice addition to your CV, especially if you have in mind to continue traveling and working around the world
WHO IS BEHIND ALL THIS?
It is a question that arose before we start. Here we explain who are the 5 EVS main actors:
The volunteer: youngsters aged between 18 and 30 years old, as we said before, no further requirements. Anyone who is open to new experience can do it.
Sending Organization: It is the association of your home country, in our case "Las Niñas del Tul" in Granada. They help you find a project, fill in the pre-volunteering documents and other things like searching for cheap flights, contact the hosting organization ...
Hosting organization: It is the association in the country of destination, in our case "Team for Youth" in Baia Mare. They are "your heads". They manage the project, provide a schedule with weekly activities and supervise that you fulfill your obligations. They are also who provide you:
- Accommodation: apartments shared with other volunteers.
- Money: in Romania we receive 160 € per month per volunteer. Considering that other expenses are covered (rental, bills, internet, transport, materials for the activities ...) It is enough to live well.
- Cultural assistance: Language lessons (Romanian and English), team building activities ...
Mentor: is a person who is part of the local community. It's your "new best friend", the mentor is there for anything you need, for example, going to the doctor, listen if you need some psychological support, help with YOUTHPASS ...
National Agency: "The eye that sees everything", It is the highest authority inside the EVS. If you have any problems with your hosting organization or something they can not solve, there is the national agency. Also they organize two trainings for volunteers, the firts one when you arrive and the second one at the middle of the project. For a week you'll be in a hotel, with all the expenses paid, with other volunteers that are in that country. Sounds good right?
It can be done in any European country but also there are projects worldwide. If you are interested in leaving Europe sure you can do it.
We chose Romania, Where would you like to go?
Three easy steps:
- Search: a project, sending organization or country where you want to go.
- Contact: with the hosting organization, you will make a Skype interview and if everything is ok they will send you your contract.
- Approval: Read your rights and obligations as a volunteer, sign the contract and enjoy the experience
Finally, here is a video-interview that we did with other volunteers about the experience of the European voluntary.