EVS in the Netherlands - Mira from Germany
My name is Mira Hestermann, I am nineteen years old and I come from a village Wietzendorf near Hamburg. Last year I finished my highschool and I did not know what I wanted to do after my schooltime. I read an article about European Voluntary Service and I was excited. I lived for one year in Netherlands in a small village called Lunteren.
Why did you choose to look beyond the borders of your own country?
Most of all I was interested to learn a new culture, new people and a new language. I worked as a volunteer with people who are mentically and physically handicapped. My project's name was Humanitas and I did activities with the clients for which the worker did not have enough time. For example some activities were cooking, going shopping, helping in the household, playing games, doing handcraft, having conversations, doing excursions.
I have chosen the Netherlands because I have never been here before and I heard only positive things about this country so I was curious about it.
What where your expectations before you came to live here?
I had already had an advantage planning visit and I got an impression of my living place, my working place, my flatmates. After this visit I was convinced that I would really like my project and I want to do this service anyway. Therefore my expectations were very high!
What were your favourite things to do in your free time?
In my free time I travelled to many cities to get a impression over the culture, the landscape of different areas, new people, the history and to meet the other volunteers. And when I did not spend my time with travelling I did sport with my flatmates or we went out for example to drinking a coffee, to go shopping and in the weekend we cooked together.
What obstacles did you encounter (and overcome)?
There is always a time when you will miss your country, your family and your friends in your home country. But it is totally normal and when I was sad, I skyped with my family or my friends or they sent me things from my home country. And it helped a lot that my flatmates had the same obstacles.
What has your experience abroad brought you?
In this year I collected many experiences. I grew up, I became more self-confident, I learned a new language, I learned to work with mentically and physically handicapped people, I learned to build up relations with people from different countries, I learned a new culture and I figure out that I want to do my voluntary service as a profession.
What would be your advice for someone who is still in the process of deciding what to do? What would have helped you somewhere along the way…
At first follow your heart! If I could do another Voluntary Service abroad, then I would not miss this chance. It was the best year of my life!