My EVS at Citizens: “Challenges and enrichments”

The beginning of my EVS at Citizens of Europe was challenging. One day after arriving in September, the seminar “Beyond the Crisis I” started. A group of young Europeans from different countries landed in Berlin. They were ready to share ten days in order to discuss and reflect on the impact of the current financial crises. I did not have much time for preparation, the project was running and Citizens counted on my help. I was a bit nervous, since it was my first experience in such activities. However, my colleagues always trusted in my capabilities and assigned me tasks to do. “Beyond the Crisis I” was an acid test. I definitely enjoyed the international environment of Citizens as well as dealing with political, social and cultural issues. I was sure it was the right place for me.

But time at Citizens did not stop. After “Beyond the Crisis I” many other interesting activities such as the film festival “My Europe” took place. During all of them I was constantly in contact with people: participants, institutions and partners. Except when we held an event, the biggest part of my job happened at the Citizens office, a friendly and daily meeting place with my colleagues.
Citizens offered me a broad and varied range of tasks to do. According to the general rules of the EVS program, Citizens gave me freedom to be in charge of the tasks I preferred. Due to my previous studies, I chose the field of communication and public relations: edition of publications, maintenance of the website, design and implementation of events, etc. They taught me a lot about the management of social projects at a European Level: Salto and Youth in Action as well as civil empowerment, non formal education, etc. New concepts and words that became very familiar. I also learned how many difficulties a small NGO based on voluntary service has, for instance funding and internal organization.
My EVS also gave me the chance to come back to a city and to a country that I like and where I had already lived in the past. I improved my German – even if I must say that Berlin is a very intercultural city. Furthermore, coming from Spain, Central and Northern European countries with their particularities in lifestyle seem very interesting to me.

It was not only a job but also a voluntary service, an experience I did not know.

My EVS at Citizens was different from any other internship program I participated in. It was not only a job but also a voluntary service, an experience I did not know. I could see this clearly in my evaluation seminars organized by the National Agency. These were like coaching sessions where I made friends, heard about German History, and acquired skills such as conflict management.

Especially as working on a voluntary basis was new for me, my time at Citizens was not always easy. But now that my EVS has finished I can see how positive this year has been. I am convinced that it was personally enriching and that it will help me to continue my career in the future.

Reflections from Marta Ramón, 26 years old, graduated in Journalism and International Relations. Carried out her EVS at Citizens of Europe from September 2012- August 2013.