My name is Ewa, I’m 21 years old and one year ago I moved from Poland to Beauvoisin, France for EVS. During this year a lot has changed in my life, but also in myself.

When I came here, to REV, my hosting organisation, i was not expecting a lot and I couldn’t imagine what the next year would be like. Of course, I had some information about the project, about the other volunteers and collective life, but for someone who has never been in a place like this it’s impossible to imagine what would be happening exactly.

During my stay I did plenty of different things, I discovered various fields of work and of course I also learned a lot. The project, the people I have met on my journey, just my experience there in general, had an impact on me and I am sure I will never experience anything like it anywhere else.

Every activity and work assignment I did this year taught me something new, even if sometimes it was difficult or I didn’t like it from the beginning, in the end, I can just say I’m really grateful for everything because it was an amazing experience, which changed me (I hope) in a good way.

The part of the project which I really love and I happy I’m exactly where I am, it’s collective life.
For me it’s the weirdest idea ever, to collect group of random people from different countries and cultures and let them live together. It can sound like a mess, but surprisingly it’s amazing how you can create a new family in this way. From the group of strangers we create a group of really close friends. I’m really glad I had the possibility to experienced this and if I will need to choose again to come here, if I will have all the knowledge from now, i will not hesitate.
Also the thing which I’m really happy of is I discovered a lot of new cultures, differences and similarities between them and I’m sure I will never get this knowledge in any school. I feel like by this year, this project touched in a beautiful, amazing and definitely unforgettable way, a real-life which is waiting for me after my volunteering.

In REV we had many different activities, one of them was visiting a nursing house in our village and making some manual animations with old people once a week. It was really good opportunity to talk in french with local people, get to know them and their stories. The other activity was english classes for local people (adults and teenagers), often it was actually language exchange while we were speaking only english and just a little bit french, so it was good occasion to learn also for us.
Except social activities we had some workshops and physical work, for example for few months we were building running path for the city, which was cool possibility to get new skills.

During my EVS in REV we were also hosting few groups from all around the world and France. Every group was different, so every hosting and dynamic was also really different. Sometimes we have difficulties in different area for example with language and communication, but even if we have small problems, in general these hostings are really amazing experiences I think for everyone. We have possibility to discover new languages and see the differences between our cultures and environments, so it was never boring!

One of the most beautiful memories for me will be international workcamp, which I lead with Antonia, REV volunteer from Germany. It was a teenager workcamp, full of motivated young people in L’espinas, in Cevennes, an incredible place with also incredible local people. Our job was caring for the wood in chestnut forests, helping local people to prepare the place for the autumn harvest of chestnuts. Except work everyone was cooking, cleaning and taking care of the camp and for most of the people it was their first time with this kind of work. Fortunately we had a group of motivated, full of energy young people, who were not scared to learn new things. When we were working with local people we heard a lot of great stories about the area and we had occasion to meet amazing people with equally amazing life stories. After work we were hiking and visiting wonderful places, rivers, mountains and small villages and also playing games and talking to get to know each other better, because we were from different places and cultures.

One day we planned to make international evening on which we invited local people from around the place and we share with them a little bit of our culture and traditional food from our countries.

Personally, for me the best feeling was to have the possibility to share all the experience i have with other people and teach them new things.

Author: Ewa

The European Voluntary Service project is organised within the framework of Erasmus+ and financed by European Commission.
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