ЕVS in Portugal, Project “Agueda Volunteering Land”

I come form Kocani, Macedonia and I’m 21 years old. I am part of an EVS project called “Agueda Volunteering Land”, witch is taking place in Agueda, Portugal. Before I start speaking specifically about my project I want to share few things for my EVS experience in general.

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I’m on EVS together with seven other volunteers from 6 different countries: Austria, Spain, Italy, Greece, Germany and two guys from the UK. Before going I hoped I will share this life-changing experience with good friends that I will meet there. My wish became more that true, I can gladly say we are 8 volunteers who function very well. Sometimes we can say that we are like a family. When we work it’s amazing because everyone is participating in the group tasks in their own way, we are also non-judgmental and respective to each other. Sometimes when we have a free weekend we travel together in other cities in Portugal. What else can a young man on EVS ask for?

Our work is challenging and we are developing all the key competences from the 8 key competences and more. Since we are eight volunteers we are split in two different projects, four of us in “Agueda Volunteering Land” and four in “Volunteers 2.0 “. My project is about working and developing activities with children, we plan an activity with specific topic that is about promoting diversity, interculturality, European social values, etc. and develop it in the school with the children. Our projects are separated, but we also do a lot of things together, for example “Volunteers 2.0” are working with youngsters, but we go with them sometimes in the schools to develop some activities that are not directly related to our projects we also do together. One of my favorite thing is when we go in the schools and we do kind of a “world cafe” activity and the students can ask as anything they want related to our EVS experience. That’s the moment when I feel like we are really changing something, because students ask questions like how they can go on a journey like that and do they need a lot of money or how to convince their parents. We are there to give the right answer in the right time and inspire a change in someone’s life. Also when we are doing activities with children is so much fun, because we give our best to plan the best and most fun activities with them and when we see that it’s working, when they are having a lot of fun time and in the same time learning a lot of things, then is when our work makes sense, when it’s fulfilling and encouraging to continue.

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We also went to an elderly home to develop activity with old people. It was like a morning to have fun and show them food from our countries. They were surprised and happy to have a different day than usual and they gave us hugs and kisses. Despite all the activities we do together and separated in projects, we also had to write and implement a personal project, the personal project could’ve been anything we want for how much time we want and it was up to us also to choose the public. My personal project was promoting help to association which takes care of stray dogs. They have a shelter with 150 dogs and mostly the work there is done by the volunteers, they need help and we went one day and cleaned the shelter. The dogs and the stakeholders were both satisfied and happy, we were lucky to have a chance to participate in something like that.

The work we do it’s satisfying because we are working and helping in some way to more parts of the society. Our host organization is taking care of the needs of every volunteer very responsible and respectful way and we are happy to be part of the organization like that. They are including us in beautiful tasks and also making sure we have a balanced life between work and relaxation. I can write many more activities, memories and things that happened during these three months, but I think this is showing enough of the nature of my EVS in Portugal. I challenging decision I made, but definitely sure saying that it’s worth it.

Filip Cvetanov

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