What exactly is this EVS that everyone’s talking about? In this article, I will summarize what being a volunteer is.
EVS (European Voluntary Service) is now an extinct program. From now on, volunteers will be going on European Solidarity Corps projects. Except for some bureaucratic changes, basic dynamics will probably remain the same in this new program.
European Voluntary Service was a program within Erasmus+ since 2014 to give young people from various backgrounds and cultures the opportunity to enhance themselves in a multicultural environment while taking a crucial step to start or improve their career paths. Everyone between the ages 17 and 30 could apply for a volunteering project. The topic of the project can be anything, but generally most popular topics are raising awareness about immigration, social inclusion, preserving the nature at eco-farms and caring for the disabled and the elderly. But it might as well be about graphic design for an NGO which deals with preserving the nature in a surfing town; there are basically no limits. The European Solidarity Corps (ESC) will also have a similar broad spectrum, with a possibility of working as an intern or a normal employee on top of the default voluntary work.
There is a platform to teach the volunteer the local language, it is called Online Linguistic Support to test and improve the volunteer’s linguistic abilities. There are two assessments; one at the beginning and one at the end of the voluntary service to trace how much the volunteer has improved during their stay abroad. On the platform, there are also some contests to encourage the volunteers to spend more time studying and learning. For instance, there is a contest in which you can only attend if you spend at least 5 hours in the system during the month. Moreover, some organizations also provide the volunteer with some language courses for free or at least they can advise them some certain language courses in private language support companies, public institutions, universities or other NGOs.
There are also some trainings for the volunteer. In short term projects up to 2 months, there is a training given by the sending organization before the volunteer’s departure about what to expect from the service, how to best cooperate and adjust to a new environment and some formal information as well. Besides, there is also an arrival trianing organized by the National Agency after the arrival of the volunteer in host country. Volunteers arriving in the same period in a country or a region gather in a youth hostel to receive an intensified training by some trainers assigned by the National Agency to give them information and answer any questions that the volunteers might have about EVS. For projects which take 6 months or longer, volunteers also receive a mid-term evaluation around the middle of the project. And at the end of the project when volunteers go back to their countries, they also receive a post-service evaluation from their sending organization to evaluate their project and how they improved themselves, while getting used to their own country once more.
After successfully completing the project, the volunteer receives a Youthpass, which is a document that certifies the volunteering period and overall it is a proof that the volunteer can submit to future employers.