"EVS should be the beginning of every student life"
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.