It has been 4 months as I came to Spain to be a volunteer in Caritas (it is a charitable organization set up by the Catholic Church, occupied by helping to homeless people and those who need actually help). A half of my project has already passed, so that I have enough to share.
My experience in EVS – is on the contrary. Now I’ll explain.
It appears, Catalonia - is not Spain. 4 years learning Spanish is not totally helpful here. In the fifth minute topic of conversation always returns to the independence channel's, and in the tenth as a Ukrainian I am always asked: "so you will you stay here after the project?" (Yeah, get married and all my life work illegally).
Advice to all: Google the location of your project. It is a quite long time, you will have to live there and you at least have to like it. (By the way I enjoy.)
I went to gain experience of social work by European standards, and realized that our standards are not that worse. I wanted to be taught, but actually I am who teachs. Looking for innovative methods I found myself in the most traditional and clumsy organization (for example, all my colleagues- volunteers – are over 50. Try to innovate here). I realized that the old methods are still worth something. Everything new – is well forgotten old, as they say.
I was so fascinated by all Spanish! What language! Culture! A hot Spanish mentality, oh! You know, the longer I live here the more I love Ukraine! "The big thing you can notice only from distance", - wrote the classic. We do not understand what is actually in our own, and do not appreciate what we really have. We have a wonderful, progressive country, we have good and honest people, we have an active and conscious youth who has faith in the future.
I wanted to find friends but instead I’ve found myself. You should get out of the comfortable cocoon to spread your wings. Only in the new environment and in a totally unforeseen situations, you are discovering your own personality and find out who you actually are.
Although my EVS is diametrically opposite of what I expected, I love it! One month here counts as a year of the quiet life at home, because every day is filled with so many events, experiences, emotions, observations, conclusions that you barely have time to reflect about it. It matures. You get to know yourself, life and the world.
My advise to newcomers: challenge yourselves, because it is funnier to live so! At the beginning there are so much things which wonder, irritate and even shock you, but be courageous enough to be open to all new.
Do not waste your time. The project flys as a European high-speed train. Take every minute. And the most important - enjoy! (Especially when everything is paid).
Victoriia Kalyniuk, Ivano-Frankivsk / Kyiv