I am Ani from Yerevan, Armenia and I did EVS/ESC in the heart of Vienna, Austria. Yes, I was a lucky person.
I applied for the EVS because I wanted to change my life for better, making it more interesting and diverse, to become more independent, do career and make new friends from all over the world. Now, when my ten months of EVS are over, I can say that I have accomplished that mission.
It has only been ten months but I learned and accomplished a lot of things during that period: I learned a totally new language from basics, German, I met new awesome people from different countries and with different background and became good friends with them, I was exposed to the culture of the country that hosted me, and the more I learned about that country and its people, the more I loved them. I miss Austria sometimes, as it became my second homeland or a country that I am quite familiar with and if being dropped there one day again I will not be lost there, for sure.I worked on my language skills, developed my social skills and career. And I definitely became more independent. I was a volunteer at Kindergruppe Butterbrot. I was working with 2-6 years old kids. My work at the kindergruppe was very beneficial for me as it gave me an opportunity to grow, I gave as much as I could and I learned new methods of working with kids from my co-workers and I hope I can apply that knowledge one day here, in my country. And what is most important- I once again realized that I love kids and will be working with them in the future. And I really miss my kids there.
I had to work there for five days per week, for six hours a day. My tasks would include taking care of kids, reading books to them, playing different games with them, preparing food, putting the plates in the dishwashing machine, sometimes telling kids interesting things, doing crafts with them. My kindergruppe would also organize some excursions to museums, theaters, celebrations of some kind of festivals together so I would join the kids during the excursions as well and enjoy the theatre performances with them.
While being abroad, traveling becomes easier and one of my tips for the next volunteers is to travel as much as possible. I managed to visit two new countries while volunteering, but I know that I could allocate more time for traveling. It broadens one’s mind, and I had a feeling that I was a small piece of a whole; it gave me a feeling of integrity.
Volunteering is a responsibility, but at the same time it is fun. Now, already back to my country, I feel that I have left a piece from my heart in Austria which was just another European country for me before I did my EVS there. I wish it was possible to do another EVS/ESC again:) Of course, I don’t want to say that everything was smooth, without any problems. I have encountered some challenges but I was able to overcome them because I never felt lonely there, I was always surrounded with kind people, people from my hosting, receiving, sending organizations and NA, who were always next to me, ready to support. I would like to express my special gratitude to all these organizations and people involved in them who made my life so beautiful during these ten long months.
Although being in a pre-designed project which is supposed to go smoothly, it is a part of real life, where you have certain roles and you have to make decisions for yourself, perhaps for the first time in your life. And that is challenging and at the same time so wonderful.
I want other volunteers to put their doubts aside and apply for EVS without fears, being open to changes. You can do that! Don’t be afraid to do EVS, EVS is for everybody, EVS is for you!