Thursday, 2 November 2017

MY EVS EXPERIENCE - How to rediscover yourself in a different country
(by Chiara Ruzzier)

It is very common, nowadays, for young EU citizens to feel a bit lost once they have obtained their University degree, once they have reached a goal that took years of planning, commitment and, let's say it, sacrifice. That inebriating feeling of endless job possibilities is quickly overcome by uncertainty and anxiety, especially when your ambition makes you want to reach for the stars, but your impatience transforms any challenge into an insurmountable obstacle.

I do not have any data to confirm how common these feelings are amongst my peers, but I am sure that was my state of mind when I decided to apply for EVS in Portugal.


After more than 3 months working in Check-IN, a non-profit organisation that promotes youth mobility and non-formal education, I can say that I am very grateful for this experience. I am given the opportunity to enhance my administration and communication skills in a very friendly and openminded environment, I am growing more and more interested in how EU institutions work and I am becoming more knowledgeable about EU project management. Thanks to my EVS, I am figuring out what my next step is going to be, and I am sure I will be able to make a more accurate decision.

Needless to say, living in Lisbon has also reawakened my passion for culture, music and anything in between! This vibrant city has so much to offer, it is hard not to fall in love with it. It is so welcoming and beautiful, that it attracts people from all over the world, with different talents and points of view. This also gives me a chance to get to know different opinions and, consequently, to reinforce or modify mine. 

Truth is, sometimes you just need to be positively shaken up, you need to be reminded of how far you can go, how much you can accomplish. The daily challenges you take on in a foreign country, from the bureaucracy to an unknown language to understand, are a simple way to rediscover yourself under a different light, a way to learn something new about who you are and what you want.

Although what I am stating has a strong individualist approach, I cannot overlook the importance of my daily interactions with other human beings. This EVS has given me the chance to meet wonderful souls, friends and colleagues that are the main reason why my experience in Lisbon is so fulfilling.

Erasmus+ projects, such as EVS, contribute to strengthen the ties amongst EU citizens. A new culture to explore is a great way to broaden your horizons and I encourage whoever enjoys taking on challenges and learning more about themselves (and others) to apply for European Voluntary Service. Get ready to be shaken up.

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