It’s unbelievable, but your favorite EVS volunteers (us, Lucia and Arina) have only 3 more months to finish “Perform Arts, connect hearts” project. We really tried EVERYTHING as volunteers, and have a lot to share and advise you, guys. Sure this info will be useful for anyone willing to become a volunteer in Europe within Erasmus+ program.
The first thing we would like to mention is now Erasmus+ is changing into European Solidarity Corps, a new program with new rules. These changes are still ongoing, so we can reflect some information not 100% correctly, please, forgive us for that. However, we’ll try our best!
EVS/ESC – is learning experience in a foreign country. You volunteers, you do something, but at the same time you learn new things and improve your skills. For example, we had completely different learning experiences even though we are in the same project: Lucia improved her communication skills, video and photo editing skills, website design knowledge, and also personal approach (like living in the other country, experiencing other culture, learning a new language). What is more, she has significantly improved her English. EVS is a really great tool for personal growth. As for Arina, she has improved her music skills – working with kids she had to practice piano and guitar, she learnt communication and public speaking techniques by translating, teaching, transmitting information. Besides, she started learning how to sew. One of the most important things to learn for both us was finding a balance with ourselves, studying ourselves and analyzing what’s actually inside us.
It’s important to mind that EVS – is a kind of bubble or game for a person. You are living somewhere, doing something, having a job, talking with your friends, but when you think of a bigger picture, it’s not quite true or real. Yes, for some time you become a part of another country/culture/life, but at some point you’ll have to go back. And this is what’s good about volunteering – it is temporarily, it is not forever. You can try yourself in a different world, but you know that you can always come back to your real life.
MONEY – you have it (but not enough sometimes). The money a volunteer is given always varies from country to country, from one exchange rate to another. Here in Turkey we are getting something like 195 euro per month. This money includes pocket money and food money. It’s really different everywhere: some hosting organizations give you pocket money and provide you with actual food; some organize a place to eat outside for the volunteers. Both of us really prefer the way we have it – getting the money and buy food ourselves, or eat outside whenever we want. 195 euro is really enough to live for one month here, even though Bodrum is considered to be an expensive city, especially when your accommodation is provided.
By the way, accommodation. It’s awesome! We are living in a small apartment, clean and safe. It is very cute and has everything needed for sustainable life: kitchen with stow, washing machine, two separate bedrooms, and a living room. What is more, our apartment is located in the same building where our office is. And we love it!
EVS volunteers have really enough time for themselves: we personally prefer to spend this time for developing ourselves and, travelling, of course! In the past 6 months we managed to visit such places in Turkey as Gaziantep, Cappadocia, Adana, Hatay, Antalya, Istanbul, Ankara, and also European countries, e.g. Hungary, Austria, Slovakia.
Being in another country is complicated, that’s for sure. Sometimes is leads people to conflict situations that require immediate resolution. We were lucky not to have big (or even little) conflicts so far, but, of course we had some troubles. The most important thing to do in these kinds of cases is to TALK. Simple, but effective. In order to solve a conflict you must communicate, try to find common ground with people you are currently in conflict with, but not shut out of them. It’ll definitely help 😉
Honestly, both of us had vertigo before going to Turkey: we were about to spend 9 months in another country! It is important not to fall for the vertigo, but try to overcome it and just go. We were afraid to stay here for 9 months, and now we are afraid that we have only 3 months ahead of us – and it’s such a short period of time!