Some explanations of the verb ‘to change’ are: 1. ‘to make or to become different’, 2. ‘give up or get rid of (something) in exchange for something else’, 3. ‘remove (something dirty or faulty) and replace it with another of the same kind’, 4. ‘an alteration or modification’. Each of the explanations could somehow describe the process of becoming and being an EVS volunteer.
Before becoming an EVS volunteer, people usually want to make/to do something different, they want to get rid of something, they might want to remove something from their lives and replace it with something new (there are a lot of reasons and personal stories in the background why people want this) – and the same was with me: after finishing my university, I wanted to do something different, I wanted to ‘remove’ some things from my live and I wanted to gain new experiences and EVS looked like an adventure-shaped lake of opportunities I can jump in. So I did – my project started in February 2017 (and still goes on, it is a 1 year long project). I said I ‘jumped’, because I didn’t really think about expectation or what is going to happen.
The changing process actually started the moment I decided I want to do EVS and continued. The first weeks when I arrived (when the replacement happened) were about getting to know the new place and new people (flatmates, locals, people I had to work with) – this is a neverending process because there are always places to discover and people to get to know. Meeting so many people who come from different backgrounds, who have different cultures, who speak different languages made me realize how many similarities do we have in common: we have the same needs, we function the same way, we have the same emotions…. There were some moments I was really amazed by the way how we managed to communicate and understand each other without a common language (kids are the best at this, of course, and there was a situation when an 8 years old little girl after we spent together 2 hours wanted to express somehow that she likes me so she took a paper and draw a heart on it and gave it to me).
Change for me is also something which had occurred or had happened with the help and contribution of all the beautiful people I have met during EVS. Conversations with my flatmates and other people made me talk about things I couldn’t talk before, they helped me notice and accept things I didn’t notice and accept before, they made think differently about some topics, they made me think differently about myself – sometimes our weaknesses can be our strong points, they also encouraged me to do things I have never done before (I’ve never had so many first times like I had during EVS), or just simply encouraged me to keep on going, to keep on doing things... With their help I became more self-confident, so I am really thankful to them.
During my stay I realized many things about myself, about the way I work, about I like and what I don’t like. I got closer to myself. I became more opened to new things.I realized that time is the only thing you get from someone and never give back, so it really changed my mind about the way I think about it. I started to notice and pay more attention to details, the beauty in everyday life – everything consists of details, therefore it is really important to enjoy the little and the routine-called moments (like brushing teeth, you can put some music while doing it and it is much more fun; or watching the stars; listening the rain; having coffee). And I also started to learn how to deal with freedom – I think it is something really important to learn how to deal with it, we are not used to, we are always waiting for someone to tell us what to do.
Gaining new skills or developing the existing ones also contributes to the changing process, since the skills we gained become a part of our personality. One really basic one almost everyone experiences is that our English speaking skills become better than they are in the beginning.
People I have met, stories I have heard, places I have visited, things that I learnt, skills that I gained, feelings that I felt they all have contributed in a way or in another to this changing process I am going through.
In order to end, I would say change always comes from many directions and in many shapes. People I have met, stories I have heard, places I have visited, things that I learnt, skills that I gained, feelings that I felt they all have contributed in a way or in another to this changing process I am going through.