My EVS started the 31 of August of 2017, but the real journey began way before that.
My first big step into this volunteer path started when I decided to study International Relations. I never really knew what I wanted to do with my life, you know when you are a child and you want to be a veterinarian or an astronaut or even a detective? I’ve been there… Before understanding what was the right choice for me, I was really lost. But, as everything in my life, this degree just appeared suddenly, and I though “why not?”. So I started studding, and during my 4 years of degree, I slowly understood that what I really love to do is help others. I started to be more focused on other’s needs. I joined volunteer jobs in very different fields like, at the hospital, or at the university, or even during this summer where we had many fires around Portugal I joined a team to go to some affected areas and help around.
As I continued growing and evolving, my certain also grow and I became sure that my future is related to do volunteer, so I decided to invest more on it. I don’t know if you all realise, but doing volunteer job abroad, normally, means that you choose a Organization (that you like, know and which works in the field that you prefer) and then If you decide to help them you basically have to pay everything. Some of them sometimes help you with accommodation or food, but all the rest comes out of your pockets, and as I was studding before I didn’t have enough money to start an adventure like that, and neither age to ask my parents help. In that case I had only one choice, I needed to find something that was fully payed!
If I am 100 % sincere, I can tell you that I wasn’t really looking for it. I was thinking a lot about it, but not really searching. And one day, I decided to do it, and the first and only application that I field up contacted me, and now I am in Latvia, Ventspils city in NGO "Ventspils Jauniešu dome" (Ventspils Youth Council)
Normally it’s not so simple, I need to admit that it takes time to decide and make the right decision, but I am always like this, when I want to do it I do it, so I go by my instincts. But there is also one more thing that guides my life, and that’s my faith. I can also say that this is not just my choice but also the way that God chose for me (careful, it’s my perspective). All this together, and having only one other candidate to “compete” with, brought me to Latvia.
I need to admit that until arriving here, I never quite understand what my decision meant and where I was going to. Of course I did my research, but nothing can explain you how people really behave, how cold the winter really is, how less sun you will see and how much you will miss it, how rainy and windy it is, how green and imposing the forests are, how the stars seem to shine more than in other part of the world where I’ve been, how beautiful a snow “storm” seems from the inside of your cosy apartment or how cheap potatoes can be. All of this, and a lot more, you just figure it out through the days. Every week has it one rhythm and speed, and every week brings new adventures and surprises.
The experience itself it’s being mind-blowing! Never in my existence I would thing or say that my 25 Birthday it would be in Latvia, there I would stop smoking, that I would like to run and exercise or that my faith is more that constantly being put to prove. This experience isn’t just helping me to grow professionally but also mentally and as a person. I am helping others, teaching, learning, making friends and thinking… Thinking a lot!
My days are basically divided between daily routine (such as make my bed every day, something that I turned in to a habit here, or cook) the Spanish class that I give, events of all kinds (like workshops, cultural talk clubs, juggling events, international evenings, etc.) helping around or even learning how to write projects like the one I am doing.
I am happy, I feel now that I am doing something useful and not just for others, but for me.
So if you don’t really know what to do or you know it just right, if you still didn’t understand what is your path or you are already following the correct way or if you want to grow in all the ways that you can imagine or you are all fully grown, do an EVS project. I can assure you that it’s worth it. Every person learns different things, reach different objectives and have different experience, and the best things is that all of them are unique.
It was my first and only choice, but for sure it was the right one!
This article has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of NGO "Ventspils Youth Council" and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.