Half a year ago I was living in a small town near Hamburg (Germany), where I had an usual and pretty calm life. Nevertheless I decided to break the routine. I asked myself important questions such as “ What should come next?; or What do I want to in my life?”. After high school I didn’t want to start a professional training straight away . I was looking to discover new things instead of following the ordinarily path of life. I wanted to go abroad and to get out of the study system. I thought the European Voluntary Service (EVS), which is a part of the Youth in Action Program of the European Union, offered a great opportunity to fulfill my expectations.
These are experiences that no school could teach me
I started my EVS in September 2012 at “Casa per Pace” (House of the Peace) in Milan (Italy). Here we deal with topics such as conflict, immigration, informal learning and environment. We also organized many courses in primary schools about intercultural understanding. Other projects include Italian courses for immigrant mothers, movie screenings and an interactive exhibition about prejudices. My colleagues are so nice that we also spend time together out of the office. In fact, sometimes it is even hard to difference between leisure and work time. I am constantly in contact with people from all over the world: Spain, Poland, South Africa or Indonesia.
Thanks to this multicultural environment I am learning a lot about other cultures and about myself. I would compare my EVS with the European Union: unity and diversity at the same time. I am glad to see how people coming from so many countries work together, aiming to reach the best results. I also want to mention that living abroad is different from just traveling, since the person faces situations in the daily life that tourist doesn´ t. Furthermore the volunteer can choose among a wide range of countries abroad to work, so I think everybody can find a suitable place. Overall, these are experiences that no school could teach me. I strongly recommend to anyone to do a EVS who is thinking about this possibility.
(Reflections from Lukas Zielinski, 20 years old, whose sending organization during his EVS in Italy is Citizens of Europe.)