I'm a Hungarian volunteer working for Iwith.org in Barcelona, Spain. Thanks to the European Community Youth in Action Program I had the opportunity to travel to Turkey and have some wonderful days with foreigners, visiting some historical places, exchanging opinions, debating with young people from other cultures, seeing and learning new things,... In short, having a good time while living new experiences.
It was a young exchange, which means that various groups of young people from different countries meet in one of the countries, discuss, and work around a common interest topic. The topic could be racism, xenophobia, local heritage, environment, drug addictions, sports, etc. And all that is funded by the European Union (EU). The objective is that young people can discover, and be aware of the different social and cultural realities, learn from one another and enforce the feeling of being European citizens.
And I can confirm that this works. I was able to have a first impression about Turkish culture, which is very different to the Spanish, and even to the Hungarian. Currently, with my job in Barcelona, I have the daily opportunity to compare culture, habits, ways of thinking, and the way of life in Catalonia, Spain and Hungary. Thanks to Iwith.org and thanks to the EVS program.
What is EVS?
This international mobility program allows young people aged between 18 and 30 to take part in a voluntary work of 3 to 12 months of duration in an NGO in any of the European Union countries, a country member of the European Economic Area (Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein) or in Turkey, currently in the process for accession. The projects' development areas for NGOs are very varied, from the social field with different groups, to art, people risking exclusion, European or Youth information, environment, culture, or media for example. The volunteers have all expenses covered: trip, accommodation and food, insurance and pocket money. The EVS projects can not be a substitute for a paid job, they are activities of a volunteer nature and not paid.
I am one of the Iwith.org Foundation volunteers. It is an international organization based on Barcelona and Switzerland, that promotes development through information and communication technologies. Iwith.org normally receives some volunteers. Now there are 4 international volunteers (USA, France and Hungary). During a year I have the chance of working here as a volunteer coordinator, grants responsable and do many other small things. As part of my job, I was able to travel for a week to Turkey, to discover, discuss and establish relationships with international organizations and foreign young people. But this one is only one of many travel opportunities and to discover new cultures. There are many, many more. So travelling is not a luxury.
To travel is to see, to learn, to explore. Travelling is easy. Travelling is to develop. It's a pleasure. It's an opportunity. And you can always find opportunities. You only have to look for them.