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EVS – the chance for you to be the change you want to see in the world

Within the frames of the European Union’s EVS project, young people can become the advocates of various good causes. Mihai Andone applied for the programme to reduce prejudices against his compatriots. After nearly a year spent volunteering, he is proud of the results.

Why did you choose Hungary as the location of your EVS?

Prior to my EVS, I was active as a volunteer at the Romanian Zamolxes non-profit organisation for several years and through this, I had the opportunity to participate in quite a few Youth in Action trainings and exchanges. Although these initiatives are organised to eliminate prejudices and conflicts between cultures, I noticed that Romanians are still treated somewhat differently, especially by citizens of countries where there are a lot of Romanian immigrants. I decided to dedicate one year of my life to the EVS experience with the personal goal of actively fighting against the negative stereotypes that exist about Romanians, therefore, it was obvious that I would pick a country where this problem is significantly present. Therefore, I wrote Poland, Lithuania and Hungary on my application form as my preferred countries and as soon as I got the first acceptance from Nyíregyháza, I started packing.


So, this means that your project promotes the reconciliation among cultures?

Yes. It is called ’Different cultures on the same wavelength’ and it aims to rely on the help of the media to promote the understanding among nations living on the territory of the European Union. Our headquarters is a half-professional radio studio – this is where we are busy selecting news, searching for topics, editing radio programmes and presenting them. Our repertoire is diverse, among our regulars programmes are for example the Gossip show, which introduces celebrities from the different EU countries to the audience; the Cultural show, which gives volunteers the opportunity to talk about their own countries; and the Free topic show, where we ask a question that we then discuss among ourselves and with the help of those who call in. Among our favourite topics have been “What would you do if you won 1 million Euros?” and “What would the world be like without religions?”. We present the topics in several languages; we have a lot of languages to choose from since there are seven EVS volunteers who are active in the project. The others are from Spain, Russia, Palestine, France, Italy and Transylvania.


I guess you have also learnt a lot about the cultures of the other volunteers and that of Hungary?

Of course! We have created a group of foreigners to which anybody can join who is in Nyíregyháza with Erasmus, EVS or with any other programme. We go out with them and we also travel together within the country: we have already visited Debrecen and Budapest, for example. Because of the radio, we have free access to a lot of events. I always enjoy those, because they are really different from what I am used to in Romania. Hungarians are a lot calmer and do not put their emotions on display as much as we do.


What surprised you the most about Hungarians?

We spent Easter in the countryside with the family of a colleague. I was really surprised at the tradition when the boys attack girls with a bucket full of water, who, despite them trying to defend themselves, always end up soaking wet and they are even willing to thank the boys for it with chocolate eggs. I have absolutely no idea how this custom was born!


What has this nearly one year given you that you have spent in Hungary within the frames of the EVS?

A lot of new Hungarian and foreign friends, the improvement of my English, the chance to get to know myself and change things that I don’t like about myself and the opportunity to learn new things. The world of the radio is extremely interesting and I am happy that I could get a taste of this profession. Besides all this, I got the opportunity to start the change that I would like to see in the world. Only time can answer if it is really going to have any impact on the long run, but in any case, I am already proud of what I have achieved.


Your project is coming to an end soon. Do you have any plans for after your EVS?

For six months, I have been going out with a Hungarian girl. Therefore, I would definitely like to stay in Hungary after my EVS. I have been looking at some job ads, but I know it won’t be easy. It is really hard to find a job in Hungary at the moment, especially in such a small town. However, despite all this, I am still positive and won’t give up, because my EVS has taught me that there is more power in me than I would have ever thought.


Judit Molnár