European Voluntary Service: What is it?

EVS is a volunteer program in Europe. Through EVS, people from the EU can do voluntary service in another European country. You get free room and board and pocket money as well as a language course. European Voluntary Service: What should you know about it?

Basics about the European Voluntary Service

The European Voluntary Service (EVS) is a remarkable program that offers young people an opportunity to engage in volunteering activities across Europe. With the support of the European Union, EVS aims to foster solidarity, intercultural understanding, and personal development among participants. By joining EVS, young individuals aged 17 to 30 can embark on a transformative journey of volunteering, where they contribute their time and skills to various projects while gaining valuable experiences.

EVS projects vary in duration, typically ranging from 2 to 12 months, allowing participants to immerse themselves in a different culture, community, and working environment. Whether it’s working in social care, environmental conservation, education, or other fields, EVS provides a platform for volunteers to make a meaningful impact and contribute to positive change. Through EVS, participants have the chance to broaden their horizons, develop new skills, and forge lifelong connections with people from different backgrounds.

participants of a European Voluntary Service on a field trip outside
EVS provides a unique platform for young individuals to gain valuable skills, intercultural understanding, and personal development. Volunteers have the chance to immerse themselves in a new culture, learn a foreign language, and build networks with people from different backgrounds. The experience broadens their horizons, enhances their adaptability, and fosters a sense of global citizenship.

The EVS program not only benefits the volunteers but also creates a ripple effect within local communities. By actively engaging in EVS projects, young individuals become agents of social change, promoting active citizenship and understanding across borders. Moreover, EVS acts as a catalyst for personal growth, fostering resilience, adaptability, and empathy among participants. Throughout this guide, we will explore the numerous opportunities, benefits, and practical aspects of participating in the European Voluntary Service, providing a comprehensive overview of this enriching experience.

European Voluntary Service: Test your knowledge

Welcome to our quiz on the topic of European Voluntary Service (EVS)! Discover how well you know the ins and outs of this program that promotes volunteering and intercultural exchange. Are you ready to test your knowledge and learn something new about EVS? Start now!

European Voluntary Service: Who is it suitable for?

To participate in the European Voluntary Service (EVS), there are certain eligibility criteria and requirements that potential volunteers must meet. The program aims to provide opportunities to young individuals who are motivated and committed to engaging in voluntary activities.

Firstly, the age range for EVS participation is typically set between 17 and 30 years old, allowing young people to embark on this transformative experience during their formative years. Additionally, volunteers should be residents of an EU Member State or a neighboring country, ensuring a broad representation of participants from various backgrounds and cultures.

Furthermore, enthusiasm and motivation to actively contribute to voluntary work are essential attributes for potential EVS participants. Being open-minded, adaptable, and willing to learn and collaborate with others are key qualities that can enhance the overall experience. By meeting these eligibility criteria and displaying a genuine interest in volunteering, individuals can seize the opportunity to embark on a remarkable journey through EVS.

EVS is therefore suitable for people who:

  • would like to gain experience abroad for a few months
  • are looking for a framework that offers them room and board
  • would like to learn a foreign language (better)
  • are keen to get different cultural experiences than in their home country
  • would like to do a socially useful activity.

Support and Benefits Provided by EVS

The European Voluntary Service (EVS) program offers comprehensive support and a range of benefits to volunteers participating in projects across Europe.

One of the key aspects of support provided by EVS is the coverage of travel expenses. EVS assists volunteers by reimbursing their travel costs to and from the project location, ensuring that financial constraints do not hinder participation. This support enables individuals to embark on their EVS journey without bearing the burden of expensive travel expenses.

several participants of the European Voluntary Service
To participate in EVS, volunteers can choose from a wide range of accredited organizations across Europe that offer placement opportunities. These organizations provide support throughout the volunteering period, including accommodation, food, local transportation, language support, and mentoring. Additionally, participants receive financial support in the form of a monthly allowance to cover their basic needs. Through the EVS, you can also further your professional education: You can look for a position in which you also work in the management of organizations from the social, cultural or educational field, for example.

In addition to travel assistance, EVS provides essential support in terms of accommodation. Volunteers are offered suitable and safe accommodation during their project duration. This ensures that participants have a comfortable living environment that allows them to focus on their voluntary work and fully engage in the project activities.

Furthermore, EVS offers a range of benefits to volunteers, including meals, local transportation, and a monthly allowance for personal expenses. The provision of meals ensures that volunteers have access to nutritious food, while local transportation support enables them to navigate their project location conveniently. The monthly allowance helps volunteers cover their day-to-day expenses and enables them to experience the local culture and community during their stay.

Overall, the support and benefits provided by EVS ensure that volunteers have the necessary resources and assistance to fully immerse themselves in their projects and make the most of their EVS experience.

About the author: Dr. Wolfgang Sender studied sociology and political science and has been writing as a journalist on international career issues since 2018. He is the author of several books and many articles.

Facts and figures

  • The European Voluntary Service has been operating since 1996 and has involved over 100,000 volunteers from various countries across Europe.
  • Germany is one of the top sending countries for EVS volunteers, with thousands of German youths participating in projects each year.
  • In 2018, the European Commission launched the European Solidarity Corps, which incorporates and expands upon the principles of EVS.
  • EVS projects can be found in over 30 program countries, ranging from the United Kingdom to Turkey and from Iceland to Greece.
  • Volunteers engaged in EVS projects have the opportunity to improve their language skills, with English, French, and German being the most commonly used languages.
  • EVS projects are not limited to traditional volunteer work; they also encompass activities such as youth exchanges, social entrepreneurship, and environmental campaigns.
  • The European Voluntary Service promotes the values of solidarity, civic engagement, and intercultural dialogue.

Duration and Scope of EVS Projects

The European Voluntary Service (EVS) offers a wide range of project durations and scopes, allowing volunteers to find opportunities that align with their availability and interests.

EVS projects can vary in duration, typically ranging from a minimum of 2 months to a maximum of 12 months. The specific project duration is determined by the needs and objectives of the hosting organization, as well as the agreement between the volunteer and the organization. This flexibility provides volunteers with the opportunity to choose a project duration that suits their personal circumstances, whether it’s a shorter-term commitment or a longer-term immersion experience.

A group of participants in the European Voluntary Service
The European Voluntary Service (EVS) is a program funded by the European Commission that promotes youth mobility and non-formal learning. It offers young people aged 17-30 the opportunity to volunteer in another European country for a period of 2 weeks to 12 months. Participants engage in various projects, such as environmental conservation, social inclusion, cultural exchange, and community development. During your EVS, you can make many contacts and build up a Europe-wide network.

In terms of scope, EVS projects cover diverse areas of engagement. Volunteers can choose projects related to social care, environmental conservation, cultural activities, education, youth work, and more. This wide range of project options ensures that individuals can find opportunities aligned with their passions and interests. By participating in these projects, volunteers have the chance to make a meaningful impact in their chosen field and contribute to positive change within local communities. The scope of EVS projects allows volunteers to gain valuable experience, develop skills, and expand their understanding of various societal issues.

European Voluntary Service: Questions and Answers

  1. What is the European Voluntary Service (EVS)?

    The European Voluntary Service (EVS) is a program funded by the European Union that enables young people aged 17 to 30 to volunteer in different countries across Europe.

  2. How long can a volunteer participate in EVS?

    The duration of an EVS project can range from 2 to 12 months, depending on the specific project and the agreement between the volunteer and the hosting organization.

  3. Are there any eligibility criteria for participating in EVS?

    To participate in EVS, volunteers must be between 17 and 30 years old, be a resident of an EU Member State or a neighboring country, and be motivated to engage in voluntary activities.

  4. What expenses are covered by EVS?

    EVS covers the volunteers travel expenses to and from the project location, provides accommodation, meals, local transportation, and also offers a small monthly allowance for personal expenses.

  5. What types of projects can volunteers engage in through EVS?

    EVS offers a wide range of projects in various fields, including social care, environmental protection, cultural activities, education, and youth work, allowing volunteers to contribute to meaningful causes.

  6. How many countries participate in EVS?

    EVS involves 33 countries, including all 27 EU Member States, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Turkey.

  7. How many volunteers have participated in EVS?

    Since its inception in 1996, more than 100,000 young people have participated in EVS, contributing to the development of local communities across Europe.

  8. Are there any language requirements for participating in EVS?

    While knowledge of the local language can be beneficial, it is not a prerequisite for participating in EVS. Many projects offer language support and volunteers often have the opportunity to learn the local language during their placement.

  9. How can one find EVS opportunities?

    EVS opportunities can be found through the European Youth Portal, national agencies coordinating the program, and various online platforms dedicated to volunteering.

  10. What are the benefits of participating in EVS?

    Participating in EVS allows young people to gain valuable skills, intercultural experience, and personal development, while also promoting solidarity, understanding, and active citizenship in Europe.

Background on the European Voluntary Service

The EVS program was launched in 1994 and has been constantly evolving since then. A total of 28 European countries are currently participating. The goal of the program is to give young people who want to engage in voluntary service the opportunity to live and work in another country, to gain new experiences and to make contacts.

The aim is to help break down barriers between European countries through mutual intercultural understanding. To do this, young people from all over Europe work together on projects that benefit local communities.

Finding EVS Opportunities and Application Process

Finding suitable European Voluntary Service (EVS) opportunities and navigating the application process is an important step for prospective volunteers.

To begin the search for EVS projects, there are several resources and platforms available. The European Youth Portal is a valuable source of information, providing a database of EVS projects from different organizations across Europe. National agencies coordinating the EVS program in each country also offer information and guidance on available opportunities. Additionally, there are various online platforms dedicated to volunteering, where organizations post their EVS projects and volunteers can directly apply.

Once potential projects are identified, the application process can vary depending on the hosting organization. Typically, applicants are required to submit a completed application form, a motivation letter, and their curriculum vitae (CV). These documents allow the hosting organization to assess the volunteer’s suitability for the project. Some projects may also require additional documents, such as reference letters or a criminal background check.

It’s important to carefully review the application requirements and deadlines for each project and follow the instructions provided by the hosting organization. Taking the time to prepare a well-written motivation letter and a comprehensive CV can significantly enhance the chances of being selected for an EVS project. Being proactive, organized, and demonstrating genuine interest in the project can make a positive impression on the selection committee.

What are the alternatives to EVS?

Alternatives to the EVS are for example the Voluntary Ecological Year and the Voluntary Social Year as well as the Federal Volunteer Service.

Where can I find out more?

You can find more information and application options for the EVS here:

European Voluntary Service: Suitability Test

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