European Voluntary Service – Is it worth it?
When you say European Voluntary Service to most people, they would probably have little or no clue about who they are and what they do. ‘The aim of the European Voluntary Service (EVS) is to develop solidarity and promote active citizenship and mutual understanding among young people’. So what does that actually mean, basically you help people and you’ll get to meet other young people and get something to put down on your CV.
The idea is that you carry out a project for up to 12 months in somewhere other than your country of residence, which can be very beneficial for language students. Only young people aged 18-30 can complete one of these projects which is why it is popular with University students and those on a gap year.
However, you must remember that this work is not paid and all your time there must be dedicated to volunteering and not to participate in additional study.
Where would you go?
If you sign up to the project and are accepted, you will be able to choose which project you want to venture on to. Once the big day comes and you have arrived at your destination, they start a process known as on-arrival training, which simply introduces you to where you will be spending the next few weeks.
You also get to meet the other volunteers who will be with you and start to realise the goals for the project, according to their website, this usually takes around 7 days. You are then thrown in at the deep end with your placement and you learn the daily routine of what you’ll be doing for the next 2 weeks – 1year. For those placements larger than 6 months you then get an assessment mid-term, to reflect on what they have achieved so far.
What Would You Do?
But the big question is, what can you do? The answer to that is anything! The idea is that you will be improving the lives of the people in the country that you are working in. Whether that’s building flood defences by filling sandbags or helping to teach local communities different skills, the possibilities are endless. My advice to you is to find out what sort of things will be involved in any placement that you may be looking into.
That’s about it really; just remember that they will cover some of your expenses but often not all. So remember that it may actually cost you money to be helping other people, madness I know. I implore you to look into it as you may get more benefits from the programme than those you are helping.