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Where is the way

EVS: where is the way ?  

Toulouse, France, June 2013
My name is Maud and I am a French volunteer. In June 2013 I had just finished a 9 months long project with my team - 7 other French volunteers between the age of 18 and 25. In France this is called a "Service Civique" - Civil Service. We mainly worked with elderly people in retirement home but we also intervened in a poor neighborhood of the city. The aim was to create social link and get people involved, as well as fighting isolation. I had moved from my home town - Angers - across the country to do this volunteering. Those 9 months were amazing and exhausting. 

I was not ready to quit volunteering yet. I remembered an informative meeting we had about different options for volunteers who wanted to go abroad, among other things there was the possibility to become an EVS volunteer. And I thought "why not ?" " I want to keep on learning though I'm not ready to go back to university yet." Plus I still felt the call of the unknown.

Thus I contacted a sending organization in Toulouse which would help me set up my application, contact hosting organizations, write then send my resume and motivation letter. It sounded good.

However, I had to move back to my hometown, there the organization would not be able to support me fully. Nevertheless, I kept on logging on the database for EVS projects (http://europa.eu/youth/evs_database_en), I checked it every other day, I wrote motivation letters and applied on my own to several projects, without answer. I felt lost.

Angers, France, August  2013
At the beginning of August I moved back to my hometown, spent time with my family and friends. After a while I understood that without the right support from a local sending organization I would not be able to go much farther than my own backyard. So, there I went again. I talked with my friends about my desire to do an EVS, they gave me clues and contacts. I got an appointment with "Famille Rurale" which handles projects related to youth in Angers. I met Adeline Hamard from the organization; she was very thorough, and listened to me carefully. I realized thanks to that talk and to my previous failures that I might have I been going at it the wrong way. Finally, she told me about an EVS project I could apply to - a Macedonian association was meeting the deadline to find a second EVS volunteer. The aim was to work for a youth organization and mainly on their radio - the volunteers had to come up with new ideas, new shows to give a new dynamic to the radio.

I was intrigued and scared. It was different from the themes I wanted first to deal with: gender roles, immigration etc. Or so I thought. My priority was to get active again as fast as possible. Thus I was tempted by the project. And it seemed broad enough for me to get creative and tackle the subjects that were dear to me. I kind of believe in opportunities, in life leaving seeds or treasures on your path that you can decide to see and pick up or to turn a blind eye on and keep on living absent-mindedly. I picked it up.

September 2013
It all went quick, in a week I met Adeline, send my resume and got a date for a Skype interview with Mile Dimkoski from the hosting organization - Youth Council Prilep. I heard from the organization about a week later. Being anxious about the answer I send emails to Mile as to whether they had reached a decision or not and smileys were popping up here and there...

18th November 2013

I was on a plane for Macedonia with Antoine - the other EVS volunteer. Now starts the real adventure and challenge. This was just the easy part!