doing an EVS

EVS stands for European Voluntary Service. It is an initiative implemented and financed by the European Commission as part of it’s Youth in Action programme. It aims at encouraging the mobility, active citizenship and non formal education of young people under 30 in EU and partner countries.

In exchange for his or her services, the European volunteer receives accommodation, language courses and a small monthly allowance to cover transport, food and other expenses. An EVS take place abroad, can last up to a year and no person is allowed to do more than one. The spoken language is generally English. The voluntary work can be of many kinds: help to disabled people, work with children, the third age or people on the fringe of society, wildlife preservation, monument conservation… The common denominator being that these activities are not for profit, and conducted by non profit organisations.

Any person willing to do an EVS must find his or her local coordination desk (it can be an NGO that also provides other services) and attend an information meeting there. With all the information in hand, the potential EVSer then looks for an exciting voluntary mission in a host organisation abroad, and applies. There are several deadlines for applying. One is April for missions starting in September for instance. Once the potential EVSer finds a place, he/she lets his/her local coordination desk know. That organisation then becomes a sending organisation, and arranges administrative things with the host organisation. At this stage the potential EVSer is still potentially uncertain of doing an EVS, as each voluntary mission has to receive the approval of national EVS authorities. The approval usually comes and everyone is happy.

Researchers have theorised about the complex nature of volunteering, which is about giving but also receiving, about altruism and selfishness. Every volunteer has his or her own motives and ambitions, but whatever they are there’s no harm in working to improve society. Especially if it’s fun.

“True happiness consists in making happy.” Bharavi’s Kiratarjuniya, Hindu

“Be happy while you’re living, for you’re a long time dead.” Scottish Proverb

“Most of us would be upset If we were accused of being ‘silly’. It comes from the old English word ‘seilig’ and it’s literal definition is ‘to be blessed, happy, healthy and prosperous’.” Zig Ziglar

“Whoever is happy will make others happy too. He who has courage and faith will never perish in misery.” Anne Frank

“Je ne sais pas ce que votre destin sera, mais il y a une chose que je sais: ceux d’entre vous qui seront vraiment heureux sont ceux qui auront cherché à, et trouvé, comment servir.” Albert Schweitzer

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