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A German girl tells her voluntary work in France

© Meike Tanzen
Meike talks about her 12-month European Voluntary Service (EVS) in Brittany

Hello Meike, can you tell us who you are?

I’m 22, I live in Ravensburg in Southern Germany, close to Switzerland and Austria. I am studying Sports and Nutrition and in my free time I like to have a drink with my friends and to do some exercise (swimming, riding and fitness) and I love travelling!


Why did you choose to go on an EVS?

I passed my « baccalaureate » and I did not know what to do, I wanted to change my environment. So, I told myself that it would be great to learn another language and to go abroad for a year, I thought that it would look nice on my CV. So, I made some enquiries on the Internet and I found out about the EVS programme. Then, my sending organisation offered me this voluntary work in France and everything went very fast!


Can you tell us about your EVS: where did you go? What did you do?

I did my EVS in France, in Etables-sur-mer, a village near St Brieuc, in Brittany. I was an activity leader in the Cap à cité leisure centre during 12 months. I was working with children, aged 3 to 11, every Wednesday and during school holidays and the rest of the time I was helping my colleagues in the office. Also, I was doing some extracurricular work in the schools of the village. And at the end of my EVS, I made my personal project during which I invited everybody (the children’s parents, the press, the city council, etc.) to attend an evening show. In this occasion, the children showed what they did and learnt during the year: puppet, hip-hop, African dance, and athletics shows.


What is your best EVS memory?

I don’t have a best memory but loads! This year was a truly wonderful experience! I have discovered lots of things, I have learnt a lot and I have lived such nice times! I travelled a lot and I met some incredible people! I enjoyed a lot discovering a new culture, I had never lived this before and I had the time of my life!


Have you been abroad before? If you could renew this experience, would you do it?

Before my EVS, I had been to Italy a few times with my family and I also went abroad with my school. But I had never been away for so long and especially not on my own. Moreover, my level of French was very basic when I arrived and I could only introduce myself. If I could do another EVS, I’ll definitely go for it!


Do you have any plans for the future?

Once I will be graduated, I would love to go travelling in India. I still feel the need to discover other cultures. I am also a member of the EuroPeer community, so I inform young people about European mobility.


Is there any advice or anecdote that you want to share with future EVS?

As far as I am concerned, I would say that it is better not to think too much before to go and not to have too many expectations. During the first weeks, everything is new and very exciting, but then you may feel a bit homesick. Once you have spent 6 months in the country, you become to feel at ease and to speak more fluently. It is a shame to leave at this moment because it is when you really start to enjoy! That is why I would advise you to go abroad for at least 9 months.

Published: Fri, 17/10/2014 - 12:17

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