If you are 18-30 years old and you want to experience something different, to learn more about other cultures, languages, lifestyles, but also to discover more about yourself, what are your talents and what actually make you feel happy… don’t think too much, just become a volunteer!
In my case the EVS (European Voluntary Service) came out of nowhere! But that’s why the phrase “Everything happens for a reason” exists. I was informed about the possibility to become a volunteer through an NGO (non government organization) “FILOXENIA” and I find it really interesting, so I said yes! My thought was: “Why not to try?”, and now I feel more than lucky because of this decision!
I’m already in the middle of my service and I feel like “another person”. I observe many changes on myself. I feel that it’s a big challenge and that I can contribute a lot by helping other people and learning a lot of new things! It’s amazing feeling to enjoy what you are doing and not doing things just because you have to! And here is the big difference between work and being a volunteer.
That is why is important to find the right project for yourself, depending on your own preferences and desires.
My project is occurred in the northern part of Portugal in a quiet, small and beautiful city called Amarante in a youth centre, Casa da Juventude! It is very diverse and this is also one of the reasons that makes me very satisfied, because I have the opportunity to learn a lot of new and different things, and to get important work experience in different fields that will absolutely help me in the future. Not only I improve myself in communication skills by learning a new language and improving my English, but I also learn how to work in a team in my daily life, to accept different opinions and that many “minds” can produce better results than one individual alone.
And what I’m really doing here? A lot! Firstly I work in Casa da Juventude, helping to organize projects and support each kind of event that is happening there. I also have the opportunity to be a part of the cultural agenda in the youth centre, so I decided to give Zumba lessons, just to enjoy dancing together with local people of Amarante.
But the most important thing is to offer and share my knowledge and good will to the community through work in different institutions for elderly people, where we spend time with them and do different activities (gymnastics, drawings etc), people with disabilities, in which I choose the education sector and where I also teach the clients some basic English, and with children in a school and in an orphanage. At the end I would like to mention that we also work with local biological producers. Of course there are much more things, which if you want to know you should try it yourself! Because volunteering is a unique experience, a combination of giving and receiving back knowledge and feelings, a procedure of exploring and learning new things, an amazing long trip in which you meet new people and places, a lifetime experience!