EVS offers volunteers not only the chance to go live and work in another country in Europe but also offers volunteers a rare opportunity to become involved in meaningful work that is carried out by communities, NGOs and not for profit organizations across the continent. The types of placement that you can join are as wide and varied as the groups that are taking part in not for profit work across Europe. There are literally hundreds of placements across all of the EU countries and in reality there is a placement to suit anyone. See below for EVS volunteers� testaments.
Living and volunteering abroad is an exciting experience, it can also be a real challenge. Traveling with EVS can open up new worlds of opportunity whilst offering support so anyone can do it and meet the challenges. You will be supported not only during the project by a mentor, who will be your first point of call with problems and suggestions, but also with pre-departure training in your home country. There are also many ways that returned volunteers can become active in their own countries, either through their sending organization or through schemes such as future capital.
EVS -European Voluntary Service- aims to support young people and offer an experience of volunteering abroad. It is a way to gain skills and experience in another European country, and also to improve language skills. EVS also promotes volunteering as a way to support community development and allows many organizations to benefit from the efforts of volunteers.
EVS is unique in that all costs are covered, there is no financial contribution required from the volunteer. For volunteers who wish to volunteer for between 6-12 months there is Long Term EVS. For those who are not ready to spend so long overseas, a first experience of travel and international volunteering is possible with Short Term EVS.
EVS Volunteers� Testimonies
Bethan Logan - Volunteer in Estonia for 6 months in 2005/6
Public Warning: Never share a sauna with an Estonian
I�ve always been a bit of an adventurer and some of my previous undertakings have involved the odd glacier-crevice crossing and piranha-fishing venture so when I announced in Spring last year that I was off toI don�t think my friends and family batted an eyelid.It was only
After a few months of EVS I couldn�t help but get stuck in and experience some of the finer traditions of the small but intriguing country of Even now, back under the black clouds of South Wales, I�ll never forget the 9 months I spent in , especially as I�m sat here with Tanel Padar, Estonian rock legend, pumping out in the background.And what with my recent habit of spouting out random Estonian phrases to passing pets and family members, I�m not going to let them forget about it either!
It�s great to be back, but I feel like part of my life has stayed in I�d worked with mentally disabled people before on a few different work camps but to stay with the group for 9 months was a whole new experience.I had some really great times with them and I was gutted to have to leave them at the end.Strangely enough, I miss the chaotic morning teeth-brushing session: negotiating 20 sets of teeth to be brushed whilst dodging flying water and the odd stray sock.The institution itself is getting better but it still suffers from its Soviet past, like most social services in
Even on those naff days when �everyone is speaking a stupid language at you� and if anyone dares to send another potato your way you will physically ram it down their throat, on those days then all it took was one of the kids to let you know they�re happy you�re there and then I�d be happy too!
I was lucky enough to have some other support around too - not to mention thousands of little EVS-ers running around left, right and centre (Estonia is overrun with them, especially of the German variety!) - I picked up some good Estonian mates along the way.Who else would I have to show me the best skiing and skating spots and teach me those essential Estonian nursery rhymes?Of course the Estonian experience would not have been complete without sharing a sauna with an Estonian � no mean feat I can assure you!When a 100�c reading on the thermometer is greeted with scoffing and generous ladles of water being sloshed on the hot stones, you know it�s time to get out of the Sauna!
In fact sauna withdrawal symptoms and more importantly the need to see my little kiddiwinkles again have meant that I just can�t keep away.I won�t have to either because my Future Capital project will finally start in July, bringing some UK volunteers together with some Estonians for a cross-cultural project in Imastu.I decided that I wanted as many people as possible to have the chance to experience what I did and enjoy such fun and rewarding work.Then they too can say � �ma pole turist, ma elan siin!� (�I�m not a tourist, I live here�: quoted from �Welcome to Estonia� by Tanel Padar and the Sun)
Catherine Davies - Volunteer in Argentina - May to November 2006
It�s the beginning of July and the end of my first month in Argentina. It�s , Saturday morning and I�m watching a drunk mosquito navigate the computer screen, the cultural exchange with the mosquitos of Clorinda is a testing experience, they seem to be the only aggressive creatures I�ve come across and I�m making lots of friends�
It�s lovely to be in Clorinda, so different to my surrounding in Buenos Aires. There are flowering mango trees and fresh lemons, the sky is bigger and the clouds move at a slower pace... After two weeks of trying to organize and plan for the project here in Clorinda, having arrived I now feel a little more relaxed. It�s difficult to imagine how things will work out when you can�t picture the landscape or the people you�re going to be working with.
I really enjoyed my time in Buenos Aires. Living with Cecilia, her brother and another flat mate, I soon felt at home and it was quite difficult to leave. It�s amazing how quickly you can grow attached to new faces and places. I�m used to living without a structured routine, and although everyday in BA was different, small aspects of my life there became familiar and the little part of me that wants to settle down was sad to leave. I learnt a few tango and zamba steps, how to prepare mate so that it doesn�t taste bitter, how to celebrate a football goal sat in a taxi. I got on well with Cecis friends and had an �intercambio lenguas� session with Lucila, and went on a couple of adventures cycling around the city with the beautiful Jose. During my chats with Marcelo, the man who sells flowers in the street, I learnt various facts about the geography and folk music of northern Argentina. I found a yoga class that I really enjoyed and was starting to get my bearings in the streets of Palermo.
I busied myself translating the spanish information sheets regarding the projects in both Clorinda and Villa Ana, and also developing ideas and preparing samples for various art workshops. The educational workshops will focus on the concept of creating a more peaceful world through respecting the natural environment and its limited resources. Teaching various craft techniques and recycling materials such as plastic bags and bottles, cardboard boxes and old clothes, the workshops aim to encourage consideration, creativity and imagination. There will be an opportunity to create theatrical costumes as well as beautiful, more practical objects.
Since arriving 4 days ago I have had the opportunity to adapt my ideas so that they are more relevant to the work we shall be doing here within the community. During the first week the group of international and local volunteers will be busy renovating and further developing a play area for children and a plant nursery that was built last year during the first �Subir al Sur� project in Clorinda. Local children gather there twice a week to receive milk, and the plants from the nursery are sold in the town. Alongside the more physical work of tidying and building wooden tables and benches, we will arrange a workshop to make small pots for the plants using old plastic bottles. The pots, made from old plastic bottles will have wire handles and will be decorated using different techniques, for example using glue, sand and paint to change the texture and colour of the plastic and another idea is to make paper beads using old magazines, to thread onto the handles.
The activities in week two will be to tidy up rubbish from the banks of the river Pilcomayo, we will be concerntrating on a section called �la passarella�, where a small footbridge links Argentina and Paraguay. There is a busy market on both sides of the river, and the area is polluted with rubbish that is thrown over the bridge. I was introduced to the Guardame (border control guards) as �una experta de la basura� (rubbish expert), and the prestigue of such a title allowed me to get right in amongst the rubbish. A closer inspection revealed an abundance of plastic bags and inspired an idea for a workshop that will coincide with the job of cleaning. We will salvage the healthiest looking plastic bags from the river bank, wash the bags and cut them into long strips. The strips will then be tied onto thin branches, each strip will be tied to the next to create a net of knots. The branch will be shaped to form a handle and the plastic net will form one half of a strong shopping bag, two halfs will be joined accordingly.
We will work from 9 until every day, and in the afternoon there will be other activities arranged. I am also arranging 4 afternoon workshops dedicated to making costumes and creating different characters using recycled materials. The first session will begin the presentation of a character created by me, she will have a wig made from fabric pompoms, papier mach� madona boobs, plastic bottle shoes ect�I�m going to come up with an interesting way of presenting her as she will become the inspiration for the workshops. The group will be divided so that there is an equal amount of people making something different for each part of the body. During the 4th workshop new groups will be formed, creating entire costumes with the items made by the individuals within each group. Each group will have to invent an identity for a character that the costume represents, and later present the character to the rest of the group.
It�s Monday by now and the sun is shining gloriously. Had such an amazing day yesterday, so emotional� Spent the day with some new friends who live in the area where we will be working next week. Went swimming in the river, tried sweet, mashed avocado, ate a hearty �asado� (BBQ) lunch with a local family, and went to watch a football match in the afternoon. I love walking amongst tropical fruit trees, the colour green and the sun is so soothing. I�m excited and happy to be here...
Click on the links below to get more information on EVS long term or short term.