Discovering your goals and pushing yourself forward? It’s called EVS!
Whether your EVS project turns out to be amazing or poor, there is no way you can lose this game!
The variety of opportunities to travel abroad under the Erasmus+ programme is bigger than what people are aware of. Everybody knows about Erasmus studies and internships, but - have you heard about volunteering?
European Voluntary Service, or by its new name European Solidarity Corps, is something you should take part in when you feel it is your time to give something to society. But don’t worry - what you get in return for doing so is immeasurable.
There are so many reasons why you should choose EVS. Firstly, it is a part of the Erasmus+ programme, and it is available in Erasmus+ Programme countries and Neighbouring Partner countries. It can last from two to 12 months, as long as you are between 17 and 30 years old.
Accommodation, food and pocket money, as well as insurance, are provided. The only thing you need to do to apply is to search through the list of opportunities, write a good motivation letter and show them why you are so eager to come and do something good.
If you think that you are not a good motivation letter writer, maybe these tips can help you - they helped me, for sure, as I am doing my EVS right now!
How did I end up doing EVS?
My path to EVS was not sudden. After graduating, I found myself pressured by plans for the future, the stress of finding a job and starting the ‘adult life’. But I knew I still wasn’t ready to settle down. I wanted to travel more and seize all the opportunities waiting for me.
At the same time, I had dreamt about Turkey for a couple of years and I knew that I needed to find a way to go there. I was in love with the culture, the language, the music and the people. You know how sometimes you just have this strong feeling that you HAVE TO go to a certain country? For me it was Turkey. Turkey was my dream, and it came true with EVS.
What do I do (or what am I supposed to be doing)!
EVS is generally quite different from Erasmus studies. You search for an opportunity, a project to which you can contribute - much like looking for a job, but with a cause you believe in! For example, the project I applied for, and after several months of nervously waiting for the answer (because Turkey), was selected for, is in a municipality of an upscale part of Izmir. I was supposed to be organising events that aim to improve social inclusion and better education of women, children, and minorities, while also covering all of it on the municipality’s social media.
But what actually happened…
Unfortunately, not all EVS projects turn out to be a total success. Even though it seems ideal in the info-pack, it can be poorly executed. In my case, the problem occurred in the municipality itself, as the Head of my department didn’t agree with any of the activities my project coordinator proposed. Therefore, I ended up doing - nothing. No matter how much we tried to think of some activities together, they just didn’t go through. Sounds like a waste of my time, right?
A poorly executed project doesn’t mean that your months or year will be a failure too. EVS is about discovering yourself, discovering where your limits lie, and pushing yourself further. By that I mean looking into yourself and understanding your goals, wishes, some dreams you want to achieve, and use this (free) time to do so. Finding something to do when the environment isn’t on your side and pushing yourself to do it is a great strength that not everyone has. It’s about doing a thorough self-analysis and developing your self-motivation. When you manage to do so, I believe that later in life you will be unstoppable in anything you set your mind to.
Screenshot from the coordinating organization’s video.
So what am I actually doing?
So I decided to create my own activities. I spent a lot of time learning Turkish, and I started a new ‘project’ - just as a hobby, I am filming and editing videos about Izmir and Turkey. And I am so proud of myself because I created something out of nothing, I stood up for myself, I learned how to use my time effectively and improve many of my skills at the same time. This EVS project didn’t turn out to be a success - but it was successful for me!
But please, don’t get me wrong - just because I had this experience, doesn’t mean you will too. I have heard some bad EVS stories, but I have heard twice as many good ones. What I’m saying is, whatever comes your way, you can shape it however you want to!
So, should you?
Well, do you feel like you are somewhere in between faculty and life? Or maybe just finishing high school with no idea of what you want later? Or you just feel that you need some kind of a break that will help you find peace with yourself and discover who you truly are (and this is not a cliche)? The answer is yes, yes, and yes - you should do it!
EVS should be a part of your life path. It is the time for you to contribute to society. It is the time to stand up for the causes you believe in. It is the time to travel where you want with a decent budget provided. It is your time - a few months or a year of your life that will mean so much to you. After that you will have a clearer vision of what you want and how you will step into the world. It is the time to grow in every way. Are you ready to do it?