Hi, my name is Yulia and I’m an EVS volunteer in Czech Republic. My experience started in October last year. From that point until now I’m trying to invent new handcraft activities, games for seniors, children, and people with mental disabilities.
My EVS takes place in a small city Pelhrimov. I’m involved in different NGOs in our region. A big plus for me is to have an opportunity to choose what I want to do because my hosting organization is very flexible. Their main task is to help and support people with mental issues. Comparing to Ukraine in Czech Republic social workers have more opportunities of working with their clients but still it’s not enough. Therefore, EVS volunteers help them to bring new ideas. Of course it’s not always easy as in the majority of the centers, workers are not ready to do something new. However, in reality everything depends on your motivation.
I spend a lot of time thinking of what I can do and trying different activities. Until now I did ceramics with seniors, handcraft classes with children, decoration for carnival and I was mentoring the international volunteers. One of my favourite part is English classes. Here I can use informal methods, be creative and have interesting conversations.
As an EVS volunteer I was offering my help with daily time program in a family center Krteck. Firstly being in a small city Pelhrimov, I didn’t know what to expect. How could I work with children if I could barely speak Czech? I think this is the first question, every volunteer will ask himself. But luckily language barrier wasn’t such a big problem and children quickly got used to me.
Except for usual handicraft lessons, I’m helping with the preparation of special events: Halloween party, carnival, traditional Christmas celebration. I’m taking photos, creating decorations and of course wearing different costumes.
EVS is one of the unique opportunities to travel! Czech Republic is situated in the middle of Europe. From here you can go to all neighboring countries very quickly. Companies like Flixbus, Ryanair can offer very cheap tickets especially if you plan your trips in advance. Sometimes I do hitchhiking as connections from small cities in Czech Republic can be very hard, so from time to time you need to be creative!
From one hand, my experience teaches me how to be flexible and not to give up. On the other hand, I understand better what I want now.
I think that EVS gives you an opportunity. But only you can decide what you'll do with it. I decided to do my best and I do not regret that I chose this way!
Yuliya Kos, 23 years old, Kiev