The biggest challenges of EVS or what being a volunteer means for me

“Maybe the present is simple, but the future can be perfect! Let’s take a risk and realize this dream, let’s forget a little bit about comfort zone and let’s go somewhere where I never been before. Simple – let’s have this experience, because definitely it’s about now or never”.

My name is Daniela Hadei and I am from Republic of Moldova.
These were my thoughts before my European Voluntary Service (EVS). All I knew was, that I really want to do it and “now” is the perfect time to do so. The perfect time to challenge myself in a new country and also to be part of an intercultural team.

Voluntary work is a very special experience. It is about giving something to people who need your help, your knowledge, your abilities. It’s something that makes you think beyond your imagination.

Being a volunteer gives you the chance to be part of a world without limits and stereotypes, a world of friendship and adventures where you can just grow and learn a lot, every day.

Volunteering can offer fantastic opportunities to spend time abroad, learn new skills and develop yourself by gaining confidence and improving language skills, participate in different activities and contribute to the local community as much as possible.

My EVS journey started last year in April, thanks to Asociatia “Tinerii 3D” from Romania. I still can’t believe that it’s already done.

In my case, I knew nothing about Wroclaw, the city in Poland, where I did my project, but now I can really recommend to all of my friends to come here and explore it!

From my experience, I am impressed of what I managed to achieve and how I adapted to the new surroundings that I found myself in. Choosing to have this experience in Poland also helped me to have special moments, meet special people and to expand my knowledge and skills in various fields.

If you really want to improve your abilities and discover new horizons, EVS is certainly the best choice. This is because, from my experience, my EVS changed my life, helped meto  somehow change my way of thinking and also to improve my English skills and to develop my personal skills.

My EVS experience made me to be more tolerant, to listen and understand people much better, to understand and to learn new cultural differences, to learn from people with different backgrounds and different kinds of perspectives.

Also, I can say now that the work environment was a key factor during my experience.

It’s about my hosting organisation, “Semper Avanti” and more than 20 volunteers and workers, people from different countries, with whom I spend almost all of my project’s time!

Because of them, I realized that I really like and I enjoy working in an intercultural team a lot. It’s a big challenge for me and in the same time it’s a totally great experience. I saw one more time that a different language is not a barrier and if you are open for new people, cultures, traditions you can learn, grow and develop yourself a lot.

We are talking about our cultures, exchanging ideas and motivate ourselves to visit each other. Also, in this time I understood that the World is so small and we have to travel as much we can, to meet new people and just enjoy all the moments. Life is too short to stay just in one place!

I am learning from my every day activities and because I am an open-minded person, I can say that I have friends everywhere in Europe. Also, a real challenge of an EVS is to learn new languages! Especially the language of the country where you are doing the project! I can say that for me this was and it’s still very hard to speak in polish language! Even the fact that I speak Russian and people told me that it will be more easy to learn polish, I can’t agree completely!

Anyway, with „Cześć, Dzień dobry, Dziękuję or jak się masz”, „Pierogi, Żurek, Oscypek or Bigos”, traveling around Poland and visiting cities like Toruń, Krakow, Warsaw, Poznań, Opole, Gdańsk, Karpacz or Zakopane, I am more motivated to learn polish and till now I am proud of myself that I can communicate a little bit with locals, in shops or in public transport! Poland in one sentence – If you really want to get to know Poland, you have to explore it.

In the same time, for improving English skills EVS is a great opportunity to learn it and get more confidence in everyday use! Because, mostly, I am working with students and children and also on different local events where I need to present or talk about volunteering, culture of my country, human rights, English lessons and in general – non formal education.

Long term EVS Project is an experience that is possible to have just once in your life. A very important experience that can’t be compared with other kind of European projects. I really recommend it to each person who wants to go out of the box, who wants to try and do something new, to know better about cultures and stereotypes, to meet people from around the world and make new friends. EVS is an experience that impacts your whole life. Now I know better what diversity of the world means. I have a new vision and perception about it.

I really like to say that – “Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you must keep moving”. Move always, as much you can, as far you can go, trust in yourself and believe in your dreams. Take a risk, take all the good opportunity that comes to you and never regret. Meet new people, make new friends, think global and never limit yourself.