Testimonial: SAY YES TO EVS|MY 2-MONTH EVS IN POLAND
Hello there! I am Loredana from Romania and I will tell you about my EVS project that took place in Leszno, Poland at a great organization called Fundacja Centrum Aktywności Twórczej for a duration of 2 months. You will also find some information about EVS in general so keep on reading.
After I got my bachelor degree I was looking for an EVS because I thought that it is an amazing opportunity for people who want to step out of their comfort zone and for people who want to try new things and I was one of them. Some time has passed and then I found the P.E.A.C.E. project at CAT Foundation and I applied for it. After the skype interview I received an e-mail telling me that I’ve been accepted, yay, I was so happy! My sending organization was ZURY Association whose president is Andreea – a kind soul who helped me a lot.
What have I done during the 2-month EVS?
- I did cultural presentations about my country in a kindergarten, primary schools and high schools. I’ve also been to a disability school to present my country;
- I worked in teams with the other volunteers and organized the do-it-yourself workshops where various kindergartens from Leszno and surroundings came to spend a fun and creative time;
- I participated in language cafe (usually with another volunteer) where I taught English to Polish people;
- Once a week I was at the office during opening hours (3 pm to 5 pm) to do different activites with the youngsters from the city who wanted to join us. One time I and two other volunteers organized a latin and belly dance workshop.
- I coordinated my own workshop about mindfulness meditation;
- Together with the other volunteers we organized interactive activities for Europe Day (onstage and downstage), an important event that took place in the main square in Leszno.
What have I learnt during the 2-month EVS?
- Communication is a key to teamwork! I knew that before, but during my EVS I really experienced it. In our daily lives, we often do not communicate effectively with each other in our native language, but in Leszno, along with 11 other volunteers from different countries, where every day the team was made up of other people, I really improved my communication skills and my English;
- I saw how beautiful and fulfilling the work with children can be and exhausting at the same time (for me). I discovered that I like working with youngsters more;
- Problem solving in last-minute situations;
- I became more flexible in my work and now I embrace spontaneous things more;
- I can speak my mind more clearly and I have a stronger sense of initiative;
- Non-verbal communication can be your best friend! I had cultural presentations in English in some classes where the level of English was low, so I used as much as possible gestures, facial expressions and different tones when speaking to make them understand what I wanted to express.
Volunteering for me is a mutual exchange between volunteers and the community from which we all gain something valuable at a personal, spiritual level. You just have to experience it yourself to see what is that valuable thing that you’ll discover.
EVS might be your first opportunity to live for the first time in another country and have no worry! Why? Because you will have your travel costs, from your country to where the project takes place and back, reimbursed (without exceeding a certain amount), you will get accommodation for free, also no need to pay bills, you will receive a monthly allowance for food and pocket money for your own expenses, you will have a health insurance and at the end of your project you will receive your Youthpass! Ah, I almost forgot, for participating in an EVS project you have to be between 18 and 30 years old.
In my short-term EVS I met a lot of people, made new friends, developed skills, overcame difficulties and fears, lived in an intercultural environment, travelled, learnt more about myself and my working style.
I want to thank everyone for taking part in my personal growth, ZURY Association, CAT Foundation and the 11 beautiful souls with whom I spent most of my time with.
I really encourage you to say yes to EVS with an open mind and an open heart and you will be amazed by the experience!
As someone wisely said, “the comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there”.
Author: Loredana Pacurariu, EVS volunteer in Poland