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YO!Fest 2017: Volunteering has never been easier!

Maija Maunu

Maija Maunu is an 18-year-old young person who’s passionate about discovering the world. She was born and raised in Finland but her heart has taken her all around the world and will hopefully continue to do so. In Finland she is the spokesperson of her local youth council. Maija trains youth councils around Finland and volunteers in a youth exchange organisation. She has also had the honor to be a young ambassador to the USA and the youth delegate of Finland in the Congress of the Council of Europe. Maija says she's very excited to be writing about her thoughts for the YO!Mag and she hopes you stick around and get inspired by her stories!


Eurodesk took part in the YO!Fest Inclusion zone, and presented the concept of the European Voluntary Service for a large group of young people interested in international opportunities. What did the EVS workshop offer these young people? If you missed it, I hope this article gives you an idea of what could be ahead of you if you long for some amazing time abroad!

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European Voluntary Service, also known as EVS, is a volunteering program for young people between 17 and 30 years of age and can be done short- or long-term. Short-term is a project lasting from 2 weeks to 2 months and long-term a project lasting from 2 months to 12 months. Eurodesk emphasized that you should choose the project you attend carefully since you can only do one EVS project in your life. However, if you do a short-term project you are allowed to apply again for a long-term project.

One of the amazing things about EVS is that it is totally free for the volunteer!

Your socio-economic background doesn’t matter, and the only thing you need to do is to send the organisation your CV and a motivational letter. The programme is funded by the European Commission, and all of the costs (including the plane tickets, accommodation, food, local transportation, health insurance and language lessons) are covered. Also, a small amount of pocket money is handed to the volunteer.

So, where should you begin?

You should think of what is important to you. Is it a specific country, a language, the type of the project, the cuisine or maybe the culture?

You should think of what is important to you. Is it a specific country, a language, the type of the project, the cuisine or maybe the culture? Choosing which projects you apply for is totally up to you. European Youth Portal has a website for all of the receiving organisations and projects and by filling in your information it finds the available projects for you.The opportunities areendless: you can volunteer with disadvantaged people, forestry and agriculture, sports activities, tackling racism, cultural awareness, EU activities, you name it! Be active and ask the organisations listed on the website if they will take volunteers if they haven’t already opened a call for volunteers for their projects.

You can find the website below:

https://europa.eu/youth/volunteering_en

Before applying you need to find a sponsor organisation for yourself. It could be an organisation you work in, your local youth department, a national youth agency or any organisation that sends EVS volunteers abroad.

Once you have found an organisation or a project you are interested in, you should contact the person whose information you can find on the European Youth Portal. You can also attach your CV and a motivational letter to the first email to show your full interest towards the project! After applying to the project that interest you, allow some time to wait for the answers from the organisations.

There are some things everyone interested in taking part in EVS should know:

* EVS is not occasional volunteering, but is an opportunity to take part in a longer project abroad

* EVS is not an internship in an enterprise, in a humanitarian organisation or an NGO

* EVS is not a recreational, a tourist activity, a language course abroad or a paid job

EVS is based on increasing your own skills through practical experience of volunteering abroad, encouraging the learning of another language, communicating with a new culture, spreading tolerance among young people of the European Union, promoting active citizenship and developing local communities.

The European Voluntary Service can offer fantastic opportunities to spend time abroad, learn a new language, make new friends, and learn about yourself. It can help you to discover what you want to do in your life and become more independent. Volunteering is a great way to spend your gap year, and figure out where you would like to study in the future. You can find out more practical information and stories about volunteering with EVS clicking here.

A video about EVS on Youtube

Maija Maunu

Maija Maunu is an 18-year-old young person who’s passionate about discovering the world. She was born and raised in Finland but her heart has taken her all around the world and will hopefully continue to do so. In Finland she is the spokesperson of her local youth council. Maija trains youth councils around Finland and volunteers in a youth exchange organisation. She has also had the honor to be a young ambassador to the USA and the youth delegate of Finland in the Congress of the Council of Europe. Maija says she's very excited to be writing about her thoughts for the YO!Mag and she hopes you stick around and get inspired by her stories!

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