My name is Luciana, I am half Brazilian / half Portuguese and I am addicted to intercultural experiences. I was born very close to the beautiful Amazon rainforest and I moved to Portugal when I was just a child. In this post, I will write about European Voluntary Service (EVS). I was challenged by Marta to share about my personal experience, and I hope that can inspire you to go on a similar adventure.
EVS is an amazing opportunity to be a volunteer in another country for up to 12 months, in the field of arts, education, culture, environment, social work, etc. It involves a sending and a host organisation and all the expenses are covered (travel, accommodation, food, medical insurance). It is for everyone between 17-30 years old and people with special needs are not excluded from this programme. Also, there is a database with a list of organisations which have been accredited to run projects under the EVS scheme.
I must say that my EVS experience changed my life, in terms of how I see the world and how I can contribute more to this beautiful globe we live in. In 2012, I went to Hungary for a 5 months project. I was based in the capital, Budapest, but through my project I spent a lot of time in other Hungarian cities. My volunteer role was about helping students to creatively engage and to shape our society, to reflect on contemporary issues and to think how we can respond to that; bringing together students from all cultures, languages and traditions. And we organised all sort of social activities to accomplish that.
It was magnificent! It provided me a real-life learning experience and different tools to put solidarity and harmony in action. Among many benefits, it helped me to be aware and to understand that people are different but if we interact and connect in a positive way we can learn a lot from each other! Of course there were some challenges, such as the language barrier and the fact I was away from my family and friends. We can feel lost when we are out of our comfort zone. On the other hand, those challenges strengthened my growth. I gained more knowledge, confidence and independence as well as I improved professional skills.
I encourage you and I dare you to try something similar! :) You can have a look at different programmes that suit you better, click here.
Text and photography by Luciana Oliveira
Just dropping a line to challenge you to write a small text in english about your EVS experience and share with the World... well here in the blog :) Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are portuguese you can check the portuguese website called SVE - Serviço Voluntário Europeu, click here.