To begin with, the European Voluntary Service (EVS) is a programme financed by the European Union through which young people, aged between 17-30 years, travel abroad to participate in volunteering projects. The living costs (accommodation and food), insurance, local travel are covered and some pocket money is provided. International travel is also reimbursed.
It is a great opportunity to live abroad, a chance to meet new people and gain experience that can be very useful in future, plus you get the taste of a new culture!
Since October 2017 I have been following such a volunteering project, in Sheffield, United Kingdom - by this way I want to give a massive shout-out to my sending organisation Synergy Romania for all the support and assistance they are and have been providing me with.
To this date, the first two and a half months of my 1 year long EVS, I feel, have past very, very fast. A lot of good and exciting things have happened since, with regards to the activities done and experiences gained, both within our receiving organizations, namely Youth Discovery Ventures (YDV) - our host organisation and the Regather Co-operative - the coordinating organisation, and outside of it, as well.
From the very beginning we - we meaning my EVS volunteer colleagues, Giorgia from Italy, Kristin from Estonia, and I, Sergiu from Romania - got to meet the people that we were to interact with the most, such as staff from the receiving organizations, our mentors and also former EVS-ers that have decided to stay in Sheffield. The event happened in a very pleasant and welcoming atmosphere, where we were introduced to the British style pub, thus a bit of the local culture, and also to the highly appreciated beer, which is well present in the archipelago’s history.
“Speaking” of beer, Regather has its own brewery - how exciting is that!? Over there we have learned how the stork brings the baby beer to the people (LOL). Brewing beer is a cool process, in which the malt drink flavoured with hops undergoes a yeast fermentation process. The thing I like the most about making beer is the physics and chemistry of it - how every ingredient is precisely measured, following the recipes, and calculating the exact moment in which the next step of brewing needs to happen. So, it’s pretty cool, the brewing process, and the end result is refreshing and tasty.
One day per week we are helping out with the Veg Box. The organic fruit and vegetables reach us in the morning and when we receive all the goods from the local farms and producers, we begin to weigh them and place them in the box, according to each customer's' preference and available produce. When packing the boxes, we put in a very good team effort, and every week, we listen to engaging music, while doing it. And this is when the future food has its best time... The veggies and fruits start busting some moves, change dance partners, while the box is passed from person to person when getting filled, and then go to have a rest in their actual place inside the veg boxes. I find it thrilling and inspiring to be part of the Veg Box scheme, because through it people are encouraged to eat food that is grown organically, whilst, at the same time, they are supporting local businesses to function and develop.
Regather is also an events venue. From gigs, film projections, comedy acts, private events, all of it happen here. I love that when an event takes place I can interact with people working in the creative world; it is a great networking and learning opportunity, since I get the chance to communicate with fellow artists and performers.
The sort of activities we do when events are on include setting up the place, stock management or bar support. At the bar, which is open only when events take place, you can try the earlier mentioned Regather beer, so come on by and have a taste!
Events is something we like to take part outside of Regather and YDV, as well, but not only... We like to have our fair share of fun also in our free time, so we go to parties, films, pubs, theatre, outdoors and nature, fairs and loads more, sometimes together sometimes individually, accordingly to our preferences. Below you can see an example of the three of us in our full splendor, entertained mode on, while attending a fancy dress party. A bunch of cheeky monkeys!
On a more serious note, I am very much appreciative for the opportunity given to take part in such an amazing project! I strongly believe that it is contributing to my development as an active and involved citizen in the community and it empowers me furthermore to pursue both my entrepreneurial goals and creative dreams, and make them come true.
More posts about our EVS project are to follow, so keep an eye on the blog here for updates!