European Youth Portal
Information and opportunities for young people across Europe.

"EVS should be the beginning of every student life"

Stefan Savcic didn’t hesitate when the organisation in which he was volunteering in Brcko (Bosnia and Herzegovina) proposed that he spend twelve months in Germany, through the European Voluntary Service (EVS) scheme.

He was only 22 years old when he decided to leave Brcko for a year to volunteer in a kindergarten in Halle (Germany). Now, back in Bosnia, Stefan Savcic considers the possibility to go abroad again to study at the University.

 

How did you hear about EVS?

Stefan. - I was volunteering in a local organisation in my town, Brcko (BiH) and they suggested I apply for a project they had with a partner organisation in Germany, to spend one year there. I didn’t think twice: I wrote my CV and a motivation letter and I sent it to the German organisation. There was a selection process and I wasn’t selected, but the volunteer they initially chose, turned down the offer.  They called me one month later and offered me the place.

 

How would you define your EVS experience?

Stefan. – Outstanding! It was the first time that I left my town and the Balkans in general.  I lived in a city that was quite big for me, where I had everything I needed. I worked in a kindergarten, where I basically took care of kids, created games and played the guitar for them. Even though I didn’t speak German at the beginning, I had really good mentors in my hosting organisation that helped me a lot with the kids. I really enjoyed this experience. That is why I would advise others not to rush but take time to choose a project in which they feel comfortable. I also recommend being willing to learn a new language and being open minded to meet different people.

 

What did you learn in Germany?

Stefan. - I learnt a lot. First of all, I learnt to live alone. There are no parents above your head and your best friends are not with you. Anyway I don’t consider a year such a long time to be separated from your family, and I made deep friendships with other volunteers like me. I learnt how to manage in a city without speaking the language fluently, and at the end of the project I consider that I really improved my German skills.  The experience changed my life and my point of view.

 

Would you encourage other young people to take part in EVS?

Stefan. - Of course, I will recommend this experience to everybody. Usually, in my country people go to University right after finishing High School. However, I noticed that in other countries, like Germany, when young people finish high school they usually take a year off, and they volunteer abroad and see a little bit of the world before starting to study. I think that this would be a good thing for our youngsters here. The European Voluntary Service gives you a good insight to find good colleges outside of your city and access to people who can help you to study abroad. I think that EVS should be the beginning of your student life.