European Voluntary Service

European Voluntary Service: what is it really?

Are you between 17 and 30 and willing to spend from 2 weeks to 12 months abroad as an EVS volunteer?

How does it work?

An E.V.S. (EU Solidarity Corps or International Volunteering or European Voluntary Service)  project is a partnership between two or more promoting organisations. These organisations are responsible for recruiting volunteers for their project.

Volunteers participate in EVS through a Sending Organisation in the country where they live and a Receiving Organisation that receives and hosts them during their period of service.

Projects last from 2 weeks to 12 months, and as a volunteer you can work in a wide range of fields, such as culture, youth, sports, children, cultural heritage, arts, animal welfare, environment and development cooperation. At the end of your EVS period, you will receive a certificate confirming your participation and describing your project as well as what main competences you have gained during your stage– the Youthpass.

You will receive free accommodation, food, insurance and pocket money. Reimbursement of travel cost to and from the project location is paid based on the EU distance band calculator. In most places in Europe it is between 275 and 360 Euros, depending on the distance.

How can you apply?

If you are between 17 and 30 you have two options:

1. Contact an organisation  that is recruiting volunteers for a granted project OR

2. Contact an organisation to discuss starting a project

To contact an organisation, consult the database of accredited organisations.

101 Why Youth Capital Of Romania Team for Youth EVS Story (1)

What EVS is not:

I am Sarah, from Austria and I came to believe that EVS is not, nor should it be considered as:

  1. Language course – EVS is not a language course. Of course, you have the chance of learning a new language, and it’s really great. But EVS is so much more than these, and the language course is a tool for making your stage easier and richer.
  2. Vacations/holidays – although we have 2 free days per each month and we can take them whenever we want, we can’t abuse it. Also we have to get the work done and a result to show.
  3. Job – EVS is not a paid job. It must not replace paid jobs but it is a good opportunity to realize which skills you have and which skills you could gain.
  4. Missions – EVS is volunteering, but nothing related to missions. This is not something religious, or related to live in bad conditions. European Union provides the necessary for your experience during EVS.
  5. Scholarship – What EVS and a scholarship have in common is that you get financial aid for participating in education. The differences are that scholarships are used in formal education, while EVS is a non-formal learning program, and that you usually need qualifications to get a scholarship, which are not needed for EVS.
  6. Fraud – This experience is as serious as any job but not a fraud. You have a contract where is written all the stuffs related with your activities, your schedule, the money that your hosting organization will give to you, your responsibilities during the project, and your rights, etc. You won’t have to pay anything at the end of your project, so stay calm.
  7. Unstructured volunteering – There are many ways of helping people, some of them don’t require you to have a plan. EVS is not like this – the Activity Agreement you sign states what kind of work you have to do in your project. You get a schedule of all the activities you are going to do, and you have to prepare them before.
  8. Internship – we are working in an NGO, not in a company as interns normally do, so first, we have no chance to stay at the organization as employees. Second, our project is not lasting, in the sense, that we have a certain work to do and the final result to show, as it is already mentioned at the point number 2.
  9. Touristic activity – EVS gives you opportunity to explore new places and discover new cultures but it’s not for tourism.
  10. Exploitation of cheap job – The fact that you will be a volunteer doesn’t mean that you are gonna be exploited as a worker. You will do just the activities that are described by your project and be written on your contract. Sometimes they can propose you others activities but if you are not agree you can reject them and you have all the time the European National Agency to support you if you have any problem in this aspect.