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My EVS experience

© Felix Cognard
Felix Cognard from France volunteered for 12 months in Croatia in NGO Carpe Diem from Karlovac. This is his story.

I always saw in EVS a great opportunity. An experience in a foreign country, for free, to volunteer in my field. 


Indeed my condition to do an EVS was to find something related to video making, in which I graduated just before my departure. After hours of looking on the database, I finally came up with different projects all over Europe. Carpe Diem was the NGO with one of the best projects and they were the first ones to reply. And there I was in Croatia in early October 2016!


Although Karlovac is not very big, it is very well placed in Croatia (near Zagreb and not so far from the Croatian coast). As me and other EVS volunteers arrived here, we met with a great community willing to know us. We joined the volunteer team in our organization Carpe Diem and started figuring out the best way to prepare and implement our projects.


The first months were mainly dedicated to this, getting to know the place, the people, the way people work and of course, how we organize our working time. With my fellow volunteer colleagues (Théo from France and Pablo from Spain) our first move was to prepare workshops in specific fields. They prepared language classes and I organized video making workshops. My constant goal was to adapt my objectives to what is actually possible. I had no idea how my activities would work so I had to adapt and stick to the resources available, which can be human (potential participants) or material (equipment and promotion).


Once I figured out what was possible and what was not, it was easier for me to organize myself. With the help of my two EVS colleagues I managed to put on screen more and more things: video reports of local events, interviews of local or foreigners, fictional short films, and my personal project, a documentary about an old non-working cinema theater. This documentary is a very important project to me, it’s the symbol of an achievement after spending 1 year of my life here in Karlovac. As a foreigner, this is my way to put on screen the feeling of discovering a new place in all what it involves. 


Apart of all these video projects I also volunteered in other things, supported my colleagues in their projects, gave a hand on local volunteering activities, went to school to present EVS program… And of course I took time to travel around the Balkans, meeting new people and discovering places I would have never thought to go to!


From this experience, I take out endless new life lessons. A wonderful opportunity to travel and discover a new culture, challenge myself by working in English, learning to take initiative and be independent… I truly consider my EVS as the most complete experience in my life so far, I had ups and downs, which is a necessity in my opinion. One thing is sure, I will never forget this place and how it had been influencing my life.

 

Felix Cognard

 

Published: Thu, 21/09/2017 - 11:17


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