European Voluntary Service

How long: 2-12 months
When: Throughout the year
Destinations: 50+ countries worldwide
Activities: Social, Environmental, Youth Work, Arts/Cultural, Language, Sport
Who can apply: 18-30
Cost: No cost

If you are between 18 and 30 and want to volunteer in another European country (or possibly further afield) for between two months and one year, then the European Voluntary Service (EVS) programme may be ideally suited to you. 

EVS is the volunteering strand of the European Commission’s
Youth in Action Programme . The programme exists to support young people aged 18-30 from across the European Union to undertake a period of voluntary service in another country. It brings together community groups (who have an appropriate project and are able to host a volunteer), organisations (who send volunteers) and of course volunteers. The programme will provide all the funding for your project including Pre-Departure and On-Arrival training, travel costs, accommodation and a small living allowance.

Through the EVS programme you can volunteer in any European country and, increasingly, in other areas of the world too.

UNA Exchange is approved by the British Council (the UK National Agency for Youth in Action) as an ‘EVS Sending Organisation’. This means that we are able to arrange and support the placements of young people on available EVS projects. We currently send around 25 volunteers per year.

Recent EVS projects that UNA Exchange volunteers have joined include:

  • Working with homeless people in Italy
  • Assisting Rangers at a wildlife park in Peru

To get a better idea of what is available you can search for EVS projects on the central EVS database . This search feature is found on the web pages of the European Commission and includes all of the approved EVS projects available.

UNA Exchange has worked on the EVS programme since 1998 and co-ordinates both the hosting and sending of EVS volunteers. We can be your EVS sending organisation if you are currently resident in Wales or have previously volunteered with UNA Exchange. Please contact , EVS Programme Co-ordinator if you would like further information about applying for an EVS project.

More information on what you can expect from EVS, how the programme is structured and how the application process works is available on request. You can also come along to our EVS Info Sessions whch run throughout the year, please contact
Georgie Mavrakis for further details.

European Voluntary Service is part of the Youth In Action Programme 2007-2013 which offers loads of great funded opportunities for young people aged 16-30. 






EVS in Norway

Elizabeth is currently out in Norway completing a 6month EVS project at a youth centre. Here is her story so far...

My EVS project is working in a youth centre in the middle of Norway. I'm working with another volunteer (from Austria) and we're helping to plan new activities and also improve the look and atmosphere of the centre in order to attract more young people. The project is pretty flexible which is great because it means we can try out our own ideas and be creative. I've also joined a theatre group that meet at the youth centre, which has been great (and given me some intensive language training...) Learning Norwegian hasn't been too much of a problem, but it can be exhausting to try and understand constantly! I've never tried to learn a foreign language before (apart from GCSE German) so it's good to find out that it's not impossible for me.
The town I'm living in is pretty small (by UK standards) so that can feel a bit restrcitive but it's also nice because I feel like I'm part of a community. That said, it's still a bit weird when I walk into a shop and a complete stranger says, 'Oh, you're the one from England!' The best thing about my EVS is meeting so many new and interesting people. The worst thing is having to pay £5.80 for a pint of (not very nice) Norwegian beer. I would throughly recommend doing EVS. It's given me the opprtunity to meet people from all over the world, to learn a new language, to live in a different country, to learn new skills and to learn about myself.