Blogs, Robotics, and Working with Children – the Amazing Spanish EVS Experience of Our Volunteer Maya!

Meet Maya from Bulgaria! She searched the right EVS project for herself for a quite long time before leaving for Spain. However, after our interview with her, it was more than obvious, that the wait was worth it! You can read about her life and service in Spain and see for yourself why we think that the right person found the right project! 🙂

Maya, Bulgarian volunteer in Spain.

Hello Maya! Please introduce yourself in a few words – where are you from, how old are you, what do you do and what have you studied?

My name is Maya, I am 24 years old and I am from Varna. After graduating from the Spanish high school in my hometown I went to study in Amsterdam. This year I got my Bachelor’s in International Business and Management.

We already know that this isn’t the first time that you live and work in a different country. Tell us more about your experiences as a student abroad?

The time spent living and studying in Amsterdam gave me the opportunity to get to know people from the whole world. I made a lot of friends from Europe and I still see them from time to time. However, it is also true that most of my journeys were with friends from Bulgaria, who similarly to me studied outside our home country.

During the third year of my studies, I was given the chance to do an exchange semester in another university with the Erasmus program. I spent 5 marvellous months studying in Madrid. I said to myself that I would definitely go back there one day. But I have to say the most unforgettable trip was the one I had to Armenia. It is an amazing country with even more amazing people. I am glad I got to know the Youth Exchange programs, so I could go there.

How did you hear about EVS and what made you decide to become a volunteer? Can you tell us about your hosting organisation, what are your tasks there? Which aspects of your work you find the most interesting and did you encounter any difficulties during your project?

I heard about the EVS program from fellow participants in the Youth Exchanges I was in. Some of them were coordinators or presidents in their associations. So I got hooked on the idea quickly from them, as they knew about the program very well. I decided to participate because I wanted to go out of the heavy corporate business experience I was getting in. I realized I wanted to work more with European projects and EVS was a great chance.

The hosting organization in which I am working now is the official Youth Center of the municipality in Majadahonda. It is a suburb town of Madrid. Since September, I am giving English conversation classes, I am participating in the organization of EVS presentations, cultural events for the youth. We also have an English Reading club.

Also, I am involved with the social media of the youth centre, helping with the technology clubs, also making a blog about one of the projects – Robotic Arm. The people I work with, and especially the kids we are educating give me incredible energy and I cannot ever feel tired or bored around them. The difficulties I met were not in the place I work, but with the people, I lived with.

Did you discover something new about yourself during this EVS experience? Have you learned some new skills, and if yes – what are they?

I realized my Spanish is still alive. But moreover, I learned for myself this place is my comfort zone, that I fit right in this town and in this sphere of youth education. I realized I would feel great to stay and work in the European projects field. I am going to Spanish courses, I dance flamenco, I learned how to make blogs and step by step I learn how to work with different programs that the centre is using for programming and promotion.

What impressed you the most about Spanish people and culture?

I think the Spanish have their fame for being very warm and welcoming people and it is truly like this. I enjoy how everything is super chill, no rush. Even if something goes wrong, it is not the end of the world. Of course, because they do have their character, they tend to overdramatize situations, accompanied by one-hour screaming (normal arguing if you ask them).

What are your plans for the future, after your EVS project is over?

I would like to stay a little bit more in Spain. But in the long run, I am definitely going to work with/in associations or with Erasmus projects, somehow.

From our previous conversations with EVS volunteers, we know that they always have some strange and funny experiences, especially during the first months of their stay in a different country. Can you share some interesting story about your life in Spain?

Desperados

With Kristof, my Hungarian EVS colleague, we had just returned from our on-arrival training back to Majadahonda. So the next weekend, of course, we had to visit our new EVS friends at a house party. We got prepared, meaning backpack full of chips, sangria bottles and lots of Desperados beer (the desperate from Spanish).

We thought the bus from our town will take us directly to their town Pozuelo. But after half an hour on the bus, we assumed we were going somewhere very far away, but not even the people on the bus could direct us. So, we decided to get off before we were too far away. We called our new Portuguese friend Gonzalo (I recall calling him Gonzuelo, shorter from Gonzalo from Pozuelo), telling him to come to get us. Soon we realized that we were already so far away from Madrid, that we had to take a train back.

However, it was already 11-12 PM, and there was maybe only one last train back. So we sat down on the station and laughed for an hour, in the middle of nowhere, drinking Desperados, absolutely lost. It took us more than 3 hours to get to the place, which was actually 5 km away initially.

It sounds like this story has turned into a great memory already! Thank you for this wonderful conversation! We hope that you will have new, great adventures during the rest of your project and tell us about them when you return to Bulgaria. If you decide to work in the field of youth work, you can always count to our team at Association FOR YOU for support!