About EVS

European Voluntary Service (EVS)

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1. What is EVS?
EVS is a fantastic opportunity to carry out a period of full-time voluntary service abroad, primarily in Europe.

EVS is a part of the EU funding programme for education, training, youth and sport 2014-2020 – Erasmus+. You can imagine it as a network of organisations exchanging volunteers between each other. The idea is to encourage young people to participate volunteering, contribute to local communities and develop skills for life.

2. The main aim of EVS
The aim is to develop solidarity and promote tolerance, mutual understanding and active citizenship (particularly European citizenship).

3. Who can participate?
EVS is for young people aged 17 – 30 and legally resident in the country of the Sending organisation. EVS is for everyone, including people with disabilities.

4. Do I have any specific qualities or skills to participate in the EVS?
Selection for EVS projects usually do not depend on any particular skills of candidates. There are no qualification requirements, only interest and enthusiasm of a volunteer is necessary. Much more attention is paid to the motivation of the candidate and his/her desire to participate in the selection project. In some cases there may be requirements for potential candidates, such as knowledge of a language for example.

5. How long does an EVS project last?
EVS projects can be short-term (2 weeks – 2 months) or long-term (2 months -12 months). In fact, the vast majority of the duration of the projects starts from 6 months or longer. You can do one short term EVS and then one long term EVS in order first short-term (or 2 short) and then long-term (a common length of these projects can be no more than 12 months). If you choose to do long-term EVS first you can do it only once in your life and cannot do any short-term projects after.

6. How much will it cost?
It’s almost free! Travel, accommodation, food, insurance, language courses are covered by a European grant. A volunteer is also paid a personal allowance each month. In some cases if volunteer’s travel expenses more than a limit (according the Programme distance calculator), a volunteer will cover the travel expenses difference.

7. What a volunteer can do?
There are many possible fields and themes to choose from: work with children, youth, sport, social care, environment, art and culture, gender equality, anti-discrimination, animal welfare, media and communication and many more.
When choosing a volunteer project pay attention to the sphere of volunteer activities. It should be close and interesting to you (not the country and city where the project takes place). For example, if the work involves active communication with children, you don’t need to have experience in it, but children should be at least you are cute.

8. What benefits to be a volunteer?
Volunteering can offer fantastic opportunities to spend time abroad, learn new skills and develop competencies, gain confidence and independence, take advantage of improving language skills, participate in outdoor/indoor activities, enhance employability (YouthPass certificate on completion), contribute to the local host community and much more.

9. Working language
Usually a working language is English. A hosting organisation (except British organisations: they can decide by themselves) has to provide course of the language which is spoken in country of your EVS project.

10. EVS it is not –
    –   random, unstructured volunteer service with part-time;
    –   internship in a commercial company;
    –   unpaid job – EVS-volunteer should not replace paid staff of the organisation;
    –   rest or tourist trip;
    –   foreign language course;
    –   exploitation of cheap workforce;
    –   education or training abroad…
Note! During EVS a volunteer cannot work.

11. How can I become an EVS volunteer?
There will be generally three parties involved in EVS projects: a sending organisation, a hosting organisation (in some cases it can be coordinating and hosting organisations) and a volunteer.
Firstly, you need to find a sending organisation that will arrange the sending and help you with information and documents. That can be us, New Faces (more information about the procedure see in question number 19).
Then you have to find a hosting organisation that agrees to take you on as a volunteer. To find a hosting organisation you need to select from a database for EVS projects more suited to you – you can find the complete list of organisations participating in the programme, filter the list according to your preferences. To the chosen organisation need to send CV in Europass format and a motivation letter. Be ready that many of organisations will not answer you. Also you can find information about current EVS vacancies register at the Youthnetworks (the registration is very easy and you will receive new offers every day).

12. How does a host organisation choose a candidate?
On the basis of your CV and motivational letter, host organisations select the best candidates, arrange Skype-interview and notify you once you have been selected. At this stage it is advisable for you to inform your sending organisation of your chosen hosting organisation.

13. Can I send a CV and a motivation to more than one organisation?
Yes, you can simultaneously send a CV and a motivation to multiple organisations. But you can only participate in one project at a time. The more hosting organisations you contact the greater your chance of a response.
Please be patient while looking for a suitable project. There is NO guarantee organisations will have vacancies for volunteers for the period of time you prefer, sometimes you need to wait for the next term of their project or find another one. Most volunteers prefer finding their projects themselves but if you have any trouble, you can ask for assistance and we will support you as best we can.

14. The main database of EVS projects can meet the EVS accreditation expiry date. What is it?
EVS accreditation expiry date is relevant because due to programme rules each EVS organisation (receiving, sending and coordinating) must be accredited. If organisations want to host or send volunteers after these dates, they must again undergo the accreditation process.

15. What do I need to include in my motivation letter and CV?
Your motivation letter and CV are pretty much like a job application. Generally your CV and motivation letter should be in English. Based on them a potential host organisation decides whether or not you are suitable for participation in this project. Recently, more and more people want to get on the EVS projects, so there is quite a serious competition. It is very important to give a motivation letter as much information about yourself, well justify your desire and willingness to participate in this project (in fact, the motivation of the candidate and the most important selection criterion). It must be stressed, why you chose this project. Do not be amiss to mention your attitude to volunteering in general. CV is information about your education, work experience and skills and it is better to do in Europass format.

16. In which countries can I go on the program EVS?
Residents of Belarus can be volunteers only in EU countries, as well as in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Turkey and the former Yugoslavia.

17. Do I need insurance?
All EVS volunteers receive coverage under the program, which is mandatory for them, and free. Making this insurance is among the duties of the sending or the receiving organisation.

18. Will I receive after the end of the project a certificate or proof of identity?
All EVS volunteers are eligible for the certificate “Youth Passport” (YouthPass). As volunteer service is one way of learning and experience, all the activities, knowledge, skills and experience, what you have done and what you have learnt, should record in the YouthPass. You can use this certificate, for example, when you are looking for a job. So it’s better to write down your activities and developing skills from the first days of your project and then use notices filling the YouthPass.

19. Can New Faces be my sending organisation?
New Faces is an accredited hosting and a sending EVS organisation. We have extensive experience in EVS. Once you have a hosting organisation willing to host you, we will prepare everything you need (activity agreement, insurance, tickets, pre-departure training, etc.). Everything is totally free for you and you can cancel your application at any point before signing the activity agreement (contract) of your stay. Sometimes New Faces become a partner in EVS-projects and then we are looking for volunteers for concrete projects. So follow us on Facebook and Vkontakte to keep updated. Once in 1-2 months we orginise the presentation of EVS at our office.
So if you are interested and need some more information – write us – newfaces.evs.minsk@gmail.com. Please, don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Now you have all the information to start you off in your quest, we wish you the best of
luck and hope to hear from you soon!

Useful links:

Erasmus+ guide

European Youth portal

Databases of volunteering opportunities and EVS organisations

About the YouthPass

The article about EVS in Russian

European Commission about EVS

EVS Page on Facebook