EVS stories: On Personal Development – by IN4EVS

Inma (SP):

This is the second hardest blog entry I’ve had to write… maybe because it requires from me a view of all these months, what I did, what I learned. It’s also hard because it’s at the end of the project, and I realize that the time is gone.

One of the fields I developed myself more, even if it can sound obvious, is independence. Of course here we are not completely independent, and we are not alone at all. We have the association, mentors, other volunteers… But out of that, is an experience in other country, where you manage your money, your daily life. It’s like a half independence experience, or maybe ¾. But still it’s a step in front.

Another aspect of myself that has changed (to better) is my perspective of the interculturality. My other EVS experience was the beginning, but here I continued developing this, facing more cultures I never “touched” before, and opening so much more my mind. This also brings some other nice consequences, like being more patience, or have a more kind way to interact with people and the world.

But I still have so much to improve and develop. And this is a good thing I’ve discovered here recently, things and skills in myself that I need and want to develop, ways to improve.

Sarah (AT):

I have to admit, sometimes it is hard for me to see how exactly I changed. Usually I see changes more as a way of adapting to a new environment and new demands. Only when I return to my usual life I can see how permanent these changes are. But there are some learning processes I can observe already now.

Professionally I can say that I am really learning to deal with feedback. So far, I’ve never really had to work in a team, and was only exposed to my own criticism. It is different when other people give you feedback on your work and ask you to make changes. By time it has gotten easier not to feel like it’s personal but to always look at whether these changes are what’s best for the team and our output.

In my personal life I can see that I am more open to new experiences now. Almost always I am saying yes to invitations and suggested activities. I am surprised that I find the mental energy for all of these trips, movie nights, parties, walks, and museum visits, but I am happy about that, because I am having a good time. So I hope that is a change that continues to work after I return.

Other than that I feel like the most important lesson I’ve learned during my stay here is to communicate my feelings more openly. I’ve always had a reputation for my poker face, dealing with my feelings on my own rather than sharing them with the world. However, during my stay here I’ve come across situations where I had to talk about how I am feeling, because I realised that not doing so would hurt other people and prevent me from accepting opportunities to be happy.

So, an EVS stage is quite an emotional ride, but in the end you will come out as stronger and more independent.

Skaiste (LT):

Recently I talked about skills I got during my EVS. Now the time has come to talk how I developed myself as a person during the period.

This project made me stronger. It made me stand for myself, my ideas and other people. It made me inspire people. It made me explain myself clearly, without any fear. It made me confront people. But I never regretted it. Because I became a person, I always wanted to be.

It also made me much more self-confident. Observing the people around, I understood, that the world sees you as you represent yourself. Later I started applying it and now I can confirm from my own experience – it works, just don’t forget it!

Although my EVS is going to the end (just 1,5 months left out of the year) and self development takes plenty of time, the good news is that the process is never ending and you can do it without even noticing it. Sometimes you can’t even realize what made you get that quality… So, maybe after some time I will realize, that I got some qualities I never had before and I still owe my EVS experience for them. Finishing, I want to wish myself and you to develop oneself, doesn’t matter, with or without realizing it.

Juste (LT):


Sarah (Austria), Juste and Skaiste (Lithuania), and Inma (Spain) are hosted in Baia Mare by Team for Youth Association, in the “IN4EVS” project, an European Voluntary Service financed by the European Commission through the Erasmus Plus Program.