EVS volunteer Daisy Hunt spent 3 weeks in Kosovo at the BREfest in the Sharr mountains. Here’s what she had to say about her time as an EVS volunteer with IVS!

“I’m a geography graduate, nature lover. I wanna work in the environmental field, so this project was an amazing opportunity for me to gain experience and share the academic knowledge I gained. There are challenges in Kosovo, of course, but this is a magical place.

I’ve met people doing EVS (European Voluntary Service) before, and this was the perfect opportunity for me to leave my footprint. I wanted to put my passion into volunteering, experience living abroad and coming back to Balkans. I thought I will be going to a pretty dangerous site, and promoting tourism, trough showing that westerners can be coming to Kosovo and having a good time. In reality with a team of international volunteers, we were organising a nature gathering from the very beginning till the end.

BREfest for me was educating the volunteers that we have the power to change opinions on the environment. Bringing together different ideas from diverse cultures, we can create an innovative way of highlighting problems, suggesting solutions, celebrating nature. I would like it to develop and become bigger! To include more involvement from locals and to make it “their festival”, involving contemporary issues of the mountain today to shape it. I really wanna see BREfest involving more cultures, local people and being even more powerful than it was this year.

My special moments were the spectacular sunsets. I discovered that by hiking slowly up the mountain at the right moment, you can prolong that special “wow” moment of the pink sky.

I think the lack of organisation is an opportunity for innovation and entrepreneurship for the locals in Kosovo. Coming from my own experience of just a 3-week stay here I feel so at peace in a country that was recently at war. Time slows down in Kosovo. You’re never sure if something will happen as expected, which makes for far more surprises.

Message to future volunteers: Be open-minded to the unexpected, we can all learn to overcome culture shock and embrace the surprises Kosovo throws at us. Take time out in nature.”