How to take part in European Voluntary Service
How is your organisation related to EVS?
Jela.- Our association, the Centar za obrazovanje i odgoj Don Bosko in Podgorica (Montenegro) sends young people abroad for EVS and we host young people from other countries: For example, one of our Montenegrin volunteers is currently doing EVS in Spain, and here we have a young volunteer from France. We also send people who want to take part in Erasmus+ programmes like seminars, trainings or youth exchanges, and promote the programme at the University or in foreign languages schools.
What is the process for a young person who wants to take part in EVS?
Jela.- There is a contact point in the organisations which send people like ours. They can contact us or one of the organisations in the country to have a meeting and receive more information on the programme. They can also do it online, by checking the Volunteering Database for EVS projects and accredited organisations, and contacting those they are interested in. They can send their CV and motivation letter and wait for the answer of the organisation. Nevertheless, I would recommend to the volunteer to be patient and persistent, since sometimes, the process can take many months. Once they found a project they can contact us or another sending organisation in their country and we will fill the application form.
How to get the VISA for long term EVS?
Jela.- Both sending and hosting organisations will deal with this together with the volunteer. The hosting organisation send us all the documents of the voluntary agreement, we will translate into our language and the volunteer should go to the relevant embassy to present them. It takes a little bit of time and coordination of different people, but at the end everything is sorted out.
If you don’t speak English very well, can you participate in EVS?
Jela.- Yes, actually, we sent two people to The Netherlands for a short term EVS (linked) with a language barrier: they have never been abroad or have had the opportunity to speak English. However, their experience was very positive: they not only improved their English skills, but they also gained self-confidence and they came back with a lot of ideas to collaborate with our organisation at a local level. It is also possible to get help to learn new languages before you go on EVS.
How EVS changed your life?
Jela.- On a personal level, living in a country with people that you don’t know is a challenge and at the same time is an incredible experience. Sometimes, people are not used to doing voluntary work but not everything is about money. EVS brings you a lot of benefits. I decided to go to Italy because I studied Italian at university; I was very motivated to go somewhere to speak the language I learnt at school. I volunteered in an organisation dealing with youth information. Through helping in the daily tasks of the association I learnt a lot of new things like how to write European projects and how to organise events for young people. Before taking part in this programme I was working in a hotel and I didn’t know anything about the non-governmental (NGO) sector, but EVS changed my career. When I came back I started to work in an organisation to write projects for children and now I am the coordinator of this NGO and I help other people to take part in EVS.