Hi, I’m Raf and spend my European Solidarity Corps (ESC) year at the CHANCE International, which is based in Berlin. If you suddenly don’t understand what means ESC don’t rush to close this page, Because you are not the only one ....
When I arrived in Berlin to begin my volunteer service, I met with many people who did not even know about the existence of European Solidarity Corps or they had a wrong impressions about it. In general, I also had other views and it took me a long time to adapt. Now I understand how important it is to share my experience with others. This information is on the ESC website, but sometimes not everyone can get to it, so I decided to explain it as short as possible.
Until now, many people, including young people, have asked me strange and funny questions about volunteering in my host organisation and about ESC.
I decided that it’s time to end this and wrote this article with a TOP of THE MOST DUMB, FUNNY, SHAMEFUL and STRANGE question about European Solidarity Corps.
These rules are clear, but depending on your project you have to decide whether these conditions are acceptable to you or not?. So I will give my example how these ESC rules work in my case.
1. WHAT IS THE ESC?
ESC (European Solidarity corps) (before European voluntary service-EVS) is part of the huge educational program which is funded by the European Union - EU (the European Union is in Europe). ESC is volunteering service, which takes place in europe and some middle east countries (continental and in the islands).
2. WHERE CAN I DO MY VOLUNTEER SERVICE?
It’s up to you: regarding the criteria of the host organization as well as your skills and wishes you can choose a program.
IMPORTANT: you can’t choose program and country separately, each offer for a specific country\city.
when I was looking for a program, it was important for me to find something where I will feel good and develop in the field of youth work, I was not interested in which country or city the project will be. But I know a lot of people who want to go to a specific country and in most cases they manage to find the desired program in the desired country.
3. DO I NEED TO PAY FOR ESC?
No, you do not have to pay anything, because all expenses (airplane ticket, accommodation, food, insurance, etc.) are covered by the EU throughout volunteering period.
Another strange question, although for people who do not know anything about the ESK, this is a completely normal question.
Most often, young people don’t understand why someone should pay for their expenses under a certain program, but the ESC is about what it takes to give people the opportunity to be in a different cultural sphere and see different things.
4. HOW LONG CAN I DO ESC?
You can make short-term and long-term ESC, short - from 2 weeks to 2 months, and long-term - from 2 months to 1 year.
But, again, for citizens of EU countries there is another opportunity - go to work in the same organization.
5. CAN I PARTICIPATE IF I AM FROM NEVERLAND?
Unfortunately, NO. Only People from the following countries can be a part of European Solidarity Corps.
All EU member states
North Macedonia and Turkey
Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway
Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine
Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia
If you are from a country that is not on the list, you can apply for other educational projects funded by the EU. It is also important that all Erasmus programs constantly expand and can come across the opportunity in one day and you.
6. CAN I PARTICIPATE IF I AM 89 YEARS OLD?
Oh, No, Only people from 18 to 30 years old can apply ( Actually you can apply from 17, BUT you can start your service only from 18).
7. IS IT WORK? IS IT PAID?
It’s a volunteering, it means, that you don’t have a full time working day, you will receive a pocket money for monthly costs ( depends on country\ city its different) . that's all.
8. CAN I WORK DURING MY VOLUNTEERING?
If you have the citizenship of one of the EU countries then YES, you can work the same time, but if you are not from the EU then you will not have the right to additional work.
In general, you should work no more than 38 hours a week during the ESC, and can you work after your ESC working hours ?, only you decide. Since I don“t have the right to do this, I don“t work.
9. CAN I DO ESC IF I HAVE A SCHENGEN VISA?
Make sure, that you need to stay in your ESC country for a year, and for that right you need National (D type) visa, other visas, Included Schengen, not allowed for staying in some country for a year.
This is a very important legal issue, because many people mistakenly think that having a Schengen visa is enough to stay in some country. But no, D type (national) visa is required.
10. DO I NEED TO STAY IN THE SAME COUNTRY\ CITY FOR WHOLE TIME?
No, officialy you have a right to take 24 days holiday during your 12 month ESC. And you can freely travel all over the EU (and some countries which is not in EU but in Schengen zone) with your National (D type) visa.
In addition to the educational factor, ESC is a great opportunity to travel in your free time and it is not a little.