So let’s start from the beginning. What is EVS? Ok, I think everybody interested in it already knows at least the meaning of the letters – European Voluntary Service. But what does it really mean?
Few months ago we had lots of interviews with the candidates for the next EVS project, that we have written and I hear a lot of answers, what EVS is in their understanding.
Helping others… Sharing… Contributing… Youth mobility… Thing from a bucket list… Charity organizations… Giving… Creating… New experience… Good opportunity to improve social skills… New people… New cultures… Contacting different countries… Knowing each other…
So I decided to think what EVS is for me. I am already living it for more than half of a year, and I can say for sure that my opinion has changed. Of course, not totally, but now I have more perspectives.
Firstly, my answer was more like the others. EVS is changing cultures, learning new stuff, getting out of your comfort zone and everything else that is like a myth and untouchable.
Now as I am already living it, I can say, that EVS is an opportunity for improvement. It starts with the learning of how to live with other people. You have to get used to not only living in another country, but also with living with other people. They are also from different countries; they have different understanding about how to deal with even the easiest things in the house (that you never thought that it could be different than you did your whole life). Some things will make you go crazy, some will be actually really helpful, but the main point is to widen your perspective and be open for the changes.
Another thing about EVS is a great opportunity for trying yourself. Not only trying yourself if you can live on your own, or if you can manage to survive with just a certain amount of money. It’s more about trying yourself in different working areas. I think it is easier for younger people, because they are just after school or university with not a clue of what they want to do in life next, so it’s a great opportunity to try a lot of things and find out there you fit best. The important thing is not to be afraid to fail, and realize that you are not good in one or other job, after trying it, but at least you tried and then you can try in different area and maybe you will be the greatest. We don’t know our real talents until we try new things. EVS is the best place to try yourself, so use this opportunity as much as you can.
Of course, it is a great place to develop your language skills and you will realize that words are not that important actually. In the beginning, when you don’t know the language, you learn how to communicate without it. You will use hands, gestures even crazy sounds and you will make it. Later you will even notice that sometimes you understand people when they speak even a language that you never knew before, because you will take more notice to their body language than to the words that come from their mouth.
And finally, EVS is a life changing opportunity, but everything depends on you and how much you want to change. It’s not about changing who you are it’s more about changing how you see the world. Like any international experience it allows you to better understand the world, how we are all different and how we can have different opinions and still manage to work for the same goal.
We are people, we make mistakes, we make wrong assumptions about people, about other countries, about how we should work and EVS is the best place to start seeing everything globally and looking out of the frame that society have put you in!