EVS Stories: EVS brings ambivalent emotions – by Chloe P.

My EVS in Romania is good. Super good. What else can I say ? It is pretty hard to write this testimony, because time is flying, and everyday is full with ambivalent emotions, but I will still try to step back and put down in words why I believe EVS is such a delightful life-changing experience.

It has been three months since I am living in Baia Mare. In this city, which is the capital of Maramureș, Romania’s most traditional region. I implement activities in the local communities, mostly poor or underprivileged. I have to connect with a lot of different groups that I’ve never worked with before: orphans, hospitalized kids, children with Down Syndrome, adults with disabilities… With my team we are every day coming with a lot of ideas and pushing our potential to offer them the best free-time opportunities. In the same week I find myself playing ”sensorial games” with adults with disabilities, leading a dance class for kids, teaching French and doing a clown-show in the hospital. Meanwhile we are working hard to provide to the people we are helping non-formal education and to help the children to develop themselves as responsible grown-ups, every day is so smooth and meaningful. When I look back I realize I’ve barely been so confident and peaceful how I am during these months of EVS.

I love the intercultural lifestyle offered by the EVS. I share the flat with an Italian and a Turkish. Team For Youth Association hosts volunteers from five countries, plus the staff from Romania. So, we all carry different cultural and professional backgrounds. EVS is both teaching and learning from the others, but also learning about yourself. I feel more conscious about my strengths, my limits, my dreams. Thanks to this multicultural environment I develop a lot of very useful skills ! I had the chance to practice non-violent communication, preparing a tiramisu, speaking few words in Turkish, living without a fridge or even preventing conflict and managing crisis, playing chess, connecting with people with disabilities, making an ashtray from a beer can, etc. I surely developed my ability to work in a team, to lead and to let it go. Beside that I love to discover Romania, its people and its traditions, as this country was a big black hole for me. I will always remember the afternoon I spent in a countryside village, invited by my coordinator in her parent’s house. Her mum, under the supervision of bunica, taught us how to do plăcintă and sarmale, two traditional dishes from Maramureș. After all, it’s just about sharing, giving and receiving.

Of course there are some up and down but this is part of the adventure, and at the end we have the satisfaction to overcome our problems and our doubts. We are here in northern Romania and surrounded by the Carpathian Mountains, in a small, very small part of Europe, and our life is changing without us noticing it.

What is EVS ? It is both moments and people that touched our hearts and who, I like to believe, let themselves be touched by us.

17 Testimonial Chloe 4x4 (2)

Chloe is French and she takes part in the “SEV 4×4” project which is an European Voluntary Service financed by the European Commission through Erasmus Plus program.