Why go abroad?
I’m Jorim van der Wijngaard, 26 years old and I’m a journalist. When I just finished my studies in 2011 , I didn’t want to start my working life straight away. I dreamed of going abroad. And luckily I found an EVS-project that fitted my journalistic background perfectly. In february 2012 I went to live and work in Sweden for a year.
I’m the adventurous type and the idea of going abroad to live there for a while had been playing in my head for quite some time already. During my studies I had participated in international exchange projects within the Youth in Action programme (now the Erasmus+ programme). Thus I met many organisations abroad that were looking for international volunteers. My sending organisation in the Netherlands has also helped me a lot by motivating me and taking care of practical issues.
Applying for subsidy
Writing an application for an EVS- subsidy encourages you to think about your project thoroughly. You have to make it very clear for yourself whatit is you want to achieve and how you plan to get there in the end. I discussed my personal goals with my hosting organisation in Sweden, and they also suggested things and co-created my EVS. Besides the application I made a list with practical things I had to take care of: sell my car, withdraw my rent, get good insurance, etc.
Filmclasses at a Swedish primary school
My project had everything to do with film. I worked at Viksjöforsbaletten; originally a dancing studio but nowadays a cultural youth organisation. Most of the time I was working at primary schools, teaching children about film and documentary. Besides that I made short films about several events and organisations in my neighbourhood.
Middle of nowhere
I virtually lived in the-middle-of-nowhere. It was hard to build a social life there, Swedish people living in the country tend to be rather harsh and surly. The silence and the rough nature were often stunningly beautiful, but also desolate at times. There have been periods when I really missed friends to hang out with and do stuff.
Ten years of life experience in one year
Although it might sound cliché, I have learned so much about myself in Sweden. I had to step out of my comfort zone. There are so many new experiences and problems that you have to deal with. All these things make you learn a little more about yourself. Mostly I learned that I have an influence on people’s lives. What I do and the way I do it, has an effect on those around me. Sometimes I feel like I gained ten years of life experience in just one year.
If I can give you one tip: just go! Indulge yourself in a new culture, learn a new language and enjoy it! Learn more about yourself, about what you are capable of and about how other people see you. My EVS was an experience of a lifetime that I will never forget and that I will benefit from for the rest of my life…