Did you know, that the range of EVS projects is so wide, that you can even spend a year abroad taking care about chimps? Read story of our volunteer Louise, who did so.
“I took an indirect route into the EVS programme, I actually found the advert online from my hosting organisation and applied for the position before I knew anything about the EVS. I had always been interested in living abroad and after graduating with a degree in Biology, I was very interested in working for an animal rescue and rehabilitation centre and learning some practical animal caretaker skills.
Feeding the chimps
I joined Stichting AAP as a voluntary exotic animal caretaker and so my general day to day routine consisted of caring for the variety of individuals housed at the facility. I was responsible for preparing and delivering food and cleaning the enclosures daily, for preparing both object and environmental enrichment to relieve boredom and stress in the animals, for moving the animals safely between enclosures, assisting in the preparation of medication and conducting regular behavioural observations to assist the professional team employed by the organisation.
I thoroughly enjoyed working at AAP – I learnt a lot during my stay and really enjoyed working with such a wide variety of interesting species. I have way too many good memories! I loved working with primates as they all have very individual personalities and it was incredibly interesting to learn more about their behaviour. I spent time working in the quarantine facility and I also enjoyed learning about the more medical based side of animal care. My friends and I also visited a lot of different cities across the Netherlands so I enjoyed travelling around the country at the weekends.
“I learnt how to cope with change and have the confidence to adapt to what is happening around you.”
I have international family all over Europe
I found maintaining a long distance relationship the most challenging aspect of the year, however both my partner and I lived relatively near to an airport and so monthly plane journeys became a regular habit. I was incredibly lucky to have a supportive boyfriend that understood I needed to have an experience like this. We are now living together in the UK, so a year apart is definitely possible to overcome! I was lucky enough to share a house with some incredible people that made my time at AAP truly unforgettable. I now have an international family all over Europe. As with most EVS volunteers, I was most surprised at how quickly the time flew by! It is amazing how quickly a year can pass.
The most important thing I learnt was how to cope with change and have the confidence to adapt to what is happening around you. It is difficult to put yourself into a brand new situation, so perseverance is key. These skills have definitely helped me in searching for employment back in the UK. “
- Live and volunteer abroad up to twelve months and meet people from all over the world!
UNA Exchange’s European Voluntary Service (EVS) offers amazing , fully funded, long-term volunteer experiences abroad for everyone aged 17-30.
Sign up for your EVS project and start the journey that will change your life!