News

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5 Young Bulgarians Share Their Experiences During the Youth Exchange 'Yes, I Can'

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News

2013-01-28

My EVS in Slovakia



Regards! I am Veselina and now I'm going to tell you a little bit about my voluntary service abroad in the frame of  EVS (European Voluntary Service) in Slovakia.

I will start with the first question: Why EVS? Well, because this is something that I wanted to do already since quite a long time. Everything started in 2006. I was a fresh, fresh volunteer in Bulgarian Youth Red Cross - Varna. I was discovering the volunteering, how great this is for me and the incredible possibilities it can offer. At that time, one friend of mine, Pavkata, also a volunteer in BYRC took part in a short-term EVS in Slovakia. This project was related with environmentalism. The mission of the volunteers was to help in the restoration of the forest, destroyed after a big hurricane.

After coming back he told me so many good things. I wanted to get involved in something like that. I started to search and read more information and this made me want to be an EVS volunteer. I needed to choose a long term project so I could gather more valuable experience and be able to do more things. But this had to wait as I had to finish high school, to study at the university, etc

Over the years I continued to gather more information about the programme. I had the chance to meet other EVS volunteers that came to participate in projects in our little country. I was surprised to see people coming from countries like Italy, Germany, France or Spain choosing our small country for their voluntary service. I met many people who were going to make their EVS project in different countries. So, step by step, it came my time to search for a project.

Why did I choose Slovakia?

In fact, we have a joke with the other volunteers from the project. It was Slovakia that rather chose us. I have many friends who dream to go to France or Germany, because they studied French and German and would like to improve their language skills. Others want to visit "famous" popular countries like England, Spain, Germany or Italy. These are the countries we have heard and read a lot about. We like them because we know so much about them. I wanted to give some other places a chance. A small, less popular and less famous country. Thus, instead of making a list with the places I want to go, my list was rather "Which countries I do not know and I could go to." So I started to search for projects in the amazing site www.youthnetworks.eu, a site I strongly recommend to everybody! (I hope it keeps working after the New Year). At first it was really hard and took me time. Little by little I started searching for projects, thinking over for a day or two and then applying. I knew the process takes time so I started to search for projects earlier (in March, when I was still studying at the university). It turned out, however, that the procedure is not at all as complicated as I expected. I sent my application to four places (Estonia, Slovakia and two projects in Greece). Two weeks later I was approved for two projects. So the choice was between Slovakia and Estonia, but the first option seemed better ... and here I am, already a month and a half in Banska Bystrica :))

Living and volunteering in Slovakia.
Before going there I started to search for information about the country. However, there were many things that surprised me. Slovakia (in my opinion) is a lot like Bulgaria: the language, the architecture of the blocks (here they also have the same panel buildings) :)), small neighborhood shops ... but there are many great things that are different - gardens between the buildings are clean, unlike ours, city (here intercity) transport always arrives on time and on weekends almost everybody go out in the nature. But on the other hand, there are also some cultural things I was shocked about. Why lunch always includes soup and a main dish (to me this is just a double lunch)? And why do they have toys called "phlegm" and the audience at the opera is called "savages"? : D Overall, I can share a lot of funny stories about my cultural contact with this country, but I think it is better to do so in another post ;)

To be continued...

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