Sara talks about her voluntary work in the United Kingdom
What is your background?
I grew up in Slovakia but I’ve lived in France for more than 7 years before applying for the EVS. After graduating from University I have lived, worked and volunteered in Indonesia and in Africa, then I moved to the UK. I worked for an organisation that helps women and children affected by domestic violence. My EVS project lasted 12 months but I stayed in the UK for almost 2 years!
How did you find out about the EVS project?
I was looking for different opportunities to volunteer abroad and found out about the EVS in CIDJ in Paris.
The topic of your EVS was quite difficult (gender violence), were you prepared for that?
I have volunteered before so I was expecting it to be challenging, however I must say it was worth it. The women, my colleagues and fellow volunteers were some of the best people I have ever met, and overall, it was amazing and rewarding. It was one of those opportunities that you go for without knowing it is going to change your life.
What was the impact of the EVS on what you did next?
It has changed a lot for me, even though I have worked in related fields before. It gave me a better understanding of how a charity works, helped me apply for similar jobs after the end of the EVS, and definitely made me understand how important it is to fight against violence in everyday life. Very often, people witness domestic, gender or other forms of violence in their lives, but are too scared to speak out. I think we can all we can say NO when we see it happening. That’s one of the main things that I’ve learned thanks to the amazing women I’ve met. Once you have this experience, you start seeing things differently.
Did you stay in touch with the people that you have met during your EVS?
Yes, I did, mainly with two other lovely fellow EVS volunteers.
How did you find life in the UK?
It was a good experience overall, and I will definitively miss the local accent!
How would you qualify this experience?
Applying for the EVS was one of the best ideas I’ve had! Life-changing and learning about things that you would never find out about otherwise. Meeting like-minded people and going on an adventure in a foreign country. I knew I would regret it later on in life if I hadn’t applied and I was right. It was a great experience.