EVS 350“Having finished my EVS and newly back in Scotland, I’m only just beginning to realise just how much I’ve gained from this experience. Sure, I gained lots of friends, great memories and a great tan, but also so much more than that. I have new language skills, valuable work experience in the third sector, confidence, independence and a new relaxed attitude to life that could only have come from Spain. EVS is a little known scheme for young people in the UK, but I could not recommend it more. I’ve had the time of my life!

“From October 2013 to July 2014 I participated in an European Voluntary Service (EVS) project in SCI Catalunya, the Barcelona-based branch of SCI International. Having been sent by IVS from rainy Edinburgh, I knew that sunny Barcelona was going to be an amazing change, but I hadn’t realised just how great my 9 months abroad would be. My role as a volunteer was to be an Outgoing Placement officer, so I sent all the Catalans who were interested in volunteering abroad to workcamps internationally. This meant emails, phone calls, chats, trainings, presentations, travel and a whole lot of spreadsheets…

“The best thing about SCI Catalunya was working as part of a big, welcoming, fun international team. When I arrived in October there were three international volunteers working alongside a team of three full-time staff and by the end of the year there were 11 of us! Working with volunteers was another highlight. Volunteers are generally motivated, energetic people with lots of initiative who want to make things happen. If that wasn’t inspiring enough, they are also just really lovely people!

“As part of my EVS, I received a grant for my food, lodging, pocket money and language tuition. I spoke Spanish before moving to Spain, but hadn’t realised I would have to do all my work in Catalan! Nine months on, learning and living in a new language is one of the most rewarding things I’ve done.

“EVS volunteers also attend training with other volunteers, which is also a great opportunity to make friends! As part of the Erasmus+ European mobility scheme, EVS is meant to foster European citizenship and create links between young Europeans, and it really does just that. I have made some friends for life through EVS and now have an excuse to visit them in their home countries across Europe.”