Being an EVS volunteer means a bunch of things. The shortest way to phrase it: you simply have the time of your life. Why do I dare to say this? Because when you participate in the program, you have the true privilege not to worry about how you will make a living, or how you will pay your bills. The program gives you the extraordinary possibility to “just enjoy” all moments, all aspects of your mission – careless of financial issues.
As a 27-year-old woman, I had my “lovely ordinary life” back home. And trust me, financial issues are really there in this way of living. I had a stressful and emotionally not so fulfilling job. Apart from my disappointment about it, I had a happy life: my family and friends were always around and I had a safe home to get to after a tiring workday. But at the end of each day, I felt the same depths of insecurity. Is that possible that life is supposed to be like this? Go to school, get a job, get a mortgage, buy a house, get married, have kids, keep on earning money and so on… I didn’t want to accept this. I felt somehow that working with something I don’t believe in shouldn’t be enough for fulfilling a life. But on the other hand, I had the pressure from all around to live the “lovely ordinary life”, and not have big expectations.
I’ve always felt I need to live abroad, and try myself in a different environment. I never participated in any European international programs before. I’ve been looking for EVS projects for about 2 years already – with changing intensity. Then, one day this project popped up in front of my eyes. Everything was perfect: location, duration and the project itself – supporting social businesses and local youth. I applied immediately and four months later I arrived to Sevnica’s station where my partner-in-crime EVS buddy and my coordinator were waiting for me. And the travelling began…
I believe I already had a lot of professional experiences. My aim was always to try myself in a lot of fields so that I can become a complex person and decide which direction I would prefer to go to. So honestly, for me, the goal was not to gain working experiences in the first place. It was to gain self knowledge and self respect and finally find my “big why”. Or just getting closer to it. Before I came here I felt that I know much about myself and my personality, but here I learned so many new things! In the past four months I’ve been living in a completely different environment – far from everything that I was used to. I realized what I’ve been missing at home and learned a lot about what could be my true calling, that I’ve been searching for years now. As they say: “It is what we know already that often prevents us from learning”. Here, after the first shock (because I had one indeed) I slowly became able to drop my concepts of basically everything. All this, for being able to take a look around and find new perspectives. And guess what, I realized how much I am controlled by society and expectations from my environment. By peeling off all of these, I came to the realization that I do not have to comfort the putative or concrete requirements. Only I can know what life I want to live and only I can be responsible for my life.
All the people (from Slovenia and from all over Europe) who I met here, all the wise advices that I’ve been given guided me to a person who I consider myself now: a questioning, thinking person, who can live the moment and give herself to her emotions bravely – even when they are not so pleasant. A person who expectedly won’t judge anyone anymore. A person who keeps working on herself, even if it’s still a long way to go.
To sum it all up, from my point of view EVS is the coolest journey you can possibly go on: you’ll meet the best people and become an ‘updated’ version of yourself.