Tom: EVS is best way to see another country and culture

Tom had an excellent opportunity to explore Romanian culture and develop his passion for media during his EVS project. “I saw that the skills I already had were appreciated and valuable,” he said. Read his story here.

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Tom introduces himself:
“My name is Tom Lever, I am from a small village outside the city of Bradford in the United Kingdom. I used to work as a graphic designer, making logos and adverts for big companies. I worked in big cities around the UK, but when my Grandmother got sick in 2012 I decided to return home to look after her. I tried to work from home, but quickly ran out of customers in my small village. After 2 years of caring for my Gran, she had improved enough for other people to take over her care. So I wanted to get back into work again by doing some Erasmus+ projects. In 2014 I took part in a short EVS to Indonesia about film and photography, then I went on my first Erasmus+ training course – it was about marketing and it was the first time I travelled to Romania. In 2015 I attended another training course in Romania and also helped to run one in Wales, UK. Now it’s 2016 and I am about to finish a 6 month EVS about film and photography in Romania.”


“When I first thought about doing an EVS I was intimidated by the length of time I would be living in another country. “4 weeks is too long! I have a life here at home!” But after completing my 3rd EVS, this time for 6 months in Romania, I can tell you that time moves so fast you will feel like you were barely away from home at all. I had done 2 short-term EVS before and wanted to do a long one before I became too old and lost my chance forever. I think they are the best way to see another country and culture. I have never liked short holidays or city-breaks, because it takes time to really notice the details of how other people live, an EVS gives you that opportunity.

All I wanted to do was explore my new country
Everything is very exciting at first. New people, new places, new sights and sounds. Everything is an adventure and all I wanted to do was explore my new country. Obviously as the months pass you become totally familiar with your surroundings, but that only means that you find your excitement in other things – like your volunteering work and activities.

My EVS project was called ‘Culture Zoom: Youth Focus’. We explored Romanian culture and shared what we saw online by posting photos and videos on blogs and websites. We also worked as teachers in 2 high schools and 1 orphanage, we taught art and design to the young people using non-formal education methods.

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During my EVS, I found really challenging to meeting deadlines as a group. I am used to working alone and getting jobs done quickly, so I had to learn to rely on my fellow volunteers (and not to get mad when they failed to deliver). I have actually learned very little Romanian, because working and living with English-speakers made it difficult to practice my Romanian.

You can choose the work you enjoy doing
We have been lucky to have a great mentor called Alexandru. He reminded us every week to look at the big picture of our EVS and to enjoy it in any way possible. I really enjoyed exploring the country’s different locations and taking photos of it. During my EVS I was doing things that I have wanted to do for many years like snowboarding on a real mountain. Experiencing a lifestyle that is very different to how people live back home – the weather here is so different – Romania gets very extreme temperatures.

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I think EVS showed me that everyone has to work in life, but you can choose for that work to be something you enjoy doing. If you do this, you will be happy all day long.I learned a new language (a little) and I saw that the skills I already had (drawing, photography, video-making) are appreciated and valuable. Much more valuable than I thought they were. This has given me the confidence to pursue a career doing something I am good at and I enjoy.”


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