EVS has been an amazing experience for me as a person. To leave my home country, friends, family and home behind in pursuit for something completely different and unknown, takes already courage. But then that’s just the start. The real challenge was to live and work in a house and at an association that I had little connection with at first. In the beginning it was all fun and game. Everything is new, everything is fun. Traveling, meeting new people, helping out and discovering a new place was nothing new for me. But then, after a month or maybe 2 months, things start to change. You settle in your new environment and you realize that this is it: this is your new home. The “shine” goes off the new situation and your fellow volunteers are sometimes getting on your nerves already. I expected this to happen to me in some degree, but one can never really prepare for it completely. Over time you learn to deal with this and you learn each other’s quirks and habits. Now my housemates have become people I admire, trust, love and miss every time I go somewhere else. When I chose to do EVS my expectations were that I would jump into the unknown (and I surely did), would do something totally different than my job in The Netherlands (I did) and that I would grow as a person by forcing myself into a situation I had no real control over (I did). The work and activities that we did over the course of this year have been varied, and, in general, though, I liked the work and it made me realize what I already suspected: pure office work is not for me. So EVS helped me discover what to do in life, to a certain extend.
Coen took part for 12 month in the PlayRide project. The main goal of PlayRide project was to promote responsible outdoor recreational activities through in- and outdoor games, in particular, and different non-formal education methods, in general, and to increase recreational activities for children and youngsters from marginalized or isolated rural communities. The project involved teaching kids and youngsters the beauty of informal and non-formal education in schools, organizing cultural events, giving presentations on EVS in the local community, exploring the rural areas for unknown and undiscovered activities or sights that should be more known and promoting the learning through playful activities. One of the main successes of the project was the festival Ceva de Vara, organized in Intorsura Buzaului by the EVS volunteers together with local volunteers from different communities. The festival gave the opportunity to more than 500 people from rural and urban communities to experience alternative leisure activities, focused on non-formal methods, playful workshops and different concerts in the evening. Besides this, the project was a great learning experience for the 5 EVS volunteers involved.