What motivated you to participate in EVS?
I heard about EVS through two friends; one had gone to Spain and the other to Belgium. They both said EVS was a great way to gain work experience and experience another country.
Applying for EVS was really easy thanks to UNA Exchange. I filled in a short application form (2 pages) and then waited to be contacted. Soon I started receiving information about EVS projects I could join. After approximately 2 weeks I saw a project that appealed to me; working at a youth information centre in Austria.
What was your first impression of EVS as you came to the new country?
My first impression of EVS was that it was well organised. Everything had been taken care of including: airport pick-up, accommodation, opening a bank account, getting a residents permit, and training.
Throughout my EVS experience I always felt well supported and was glad I had chosen to do it. It proved to be an excellent volunteering programme that always knew how to best support its volunteers.
Which kinds of activities were you doing during the EVS?
During my EVS placement I did lots of outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling and swimming. I felt lucky to live in a town where I could do all these healthy and fun sports. I didn’t have the same opportunities available to me in the UK.
I also joined the local community radio station. I have always loved radio and was grateful when the radio station welcomed me in. They gave me training on making a radio show and being a radio host. I started a fortnightly radio show about volunteering called Volunteer Stories.
What surprised you most during your experience?
What surprised me most was how nice my colleagues were at the youth information centre. I’d never met work colleagues who got on so well and were so nice. I only volunteered for 6 months but I came away with friends I’ll keep for life. They were all so kind and nice. I didn’t think I was the type of person to miss people but I can honestly say I miss my colleagues!
What was most challenging for you during EVS?
The biggest challenge for me was learning German. I had studied it for one year at Secondary School but I had forgotten almost everything. Luckily, all my colleagues spoke English, as did my housemates, and most of the people I met. Thankfully EVS also provided really good language support tools, such as online learning, and I went from Level A1- to A2 in German within 6 months.
Tell me about some people you’ve met while EVS: how these people affected/inspired you?
One of the most inspiring people I met was George. She lived a sustainable lifestyle which I didn’t think was possible until I met her. George was vegan, used a bicycle to get around, attended sustainable events, and work on sustainable projects such as musical festivals. Witnessing George’s green lifestyle made me more aware of my lifestyle choices and I started to be greener.
To read more about Lettice and her travels visit her personal blog Lettice Travels.