For two months, Nastya, Ksenya, Karina and Veronika have been involved in their European Volunteer Service (EVS, in the framework of the Erasmus+ programme) in three European countries. Let’s get to know more about their projects and what their lives look like.
Opora has experience sending EVS volunteers from Russia: last year, a volunteer went to England, and the year before, to Croatia. This time, 4 young girls have decided to leave for a 12-month-long experience in France, Austria and Greece. Their project and their environments vary a lot, but their motivation was the same: discover something new, practice foreign languages, and have a positive impact on the community they live in. Before departing, Karina expressed her expectations in that sense:
“I think that I will recharge myself and charge other people with positive energy and good emotions”.
Karina has settle in a small village in Central France, Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule, where she works with children and youngsters at the Youth service of the municipality. She intervenes in schools where she presents the opportunities of international volunteering. Looking back to those first two months, she remarks that she overcame the language barrier with most of the children, with the exception of the smallest ones (3-6 years old). She also leads some activities to get the youngsters acquainted with the cultures of Russia, and plans to organise some workshops of folk dances.
Ksenya is also living in France, in another small village, Graulhet, in the southern region close to the vibrant metropole of Toulouse. Her project resembles the one of Karina as she is involved in a Youth Centre. She is in charge of English classes and also organizes activities to promote mobility and European volunteering towards the youngsters. These two months have been an adaptation period to get acquainted with the new environment and to set the bases of the long-term projects.
Both Karina and Ksenya had a good knowledge of French when they arrived in France; they keep learning it through the “Online Linguistic Support” platform set by the European Commission to ensure that the volunteers get the best of their language experience.
Veronika works in a kindergarten near the Austrian capital city Vienna. After 3 months, she fully enjoys her volunteering experience She noticed that the kids were relatively independent compare to youngsters in Russia (the school follows the Montessori and Waldorf principles). Veronika enjoys the activities organized for the kids, such as weekly walks in the forest or cooking time. For her, the difficulty was at first to understand the timetable of the different groups and to find her role in the kindergarden. Having studied German at university, Veronika was still unsure of her ability to communicate with small children; however, after getting used to her new environment, she doesn’t have any problems anymore.
Finally, Nastya has chosen to volunteer for a retirement centre on the Lefkas Island in Greece. Her project encompasses organizing activities with the pensioners of the centre and with children with disabilities. She also takes part in other projects of the organization Solidarity Tracks which recently included a youth exchange and festivals. In parallel, Nastya learns Greek language, with the possibility to practice it straight away. She also assisted numerous master-classes on arts and crafts, exercising her skills on clay, woodwork and upcycling.
This is it for the beginning of their EVS projects, and we cannot wait to see how their projects will develop!