Dates: 14. 1. 2018 – 13. 1. 2019
Venue: Amiens, France
Programme and action: Erasmus+, KA1, European Voluntary Service – long term
Please read the EVS infopack.
Hosting organization: Europe Direct Picardie
Volunteer: Barbora Svobodová
I spent the year 2018 in Amiens, North France, where I worked as a volunteer at the office of Europe Direct, whose primary objective is to inform about the European Union, to explain its functioning and all aspects of European politics and its impact on everyday life.
Together with three other volunteers from Germany, Spain and Italy, I was part of a small international team, and our work consisted mainly of preparing interventions – lectures, debates and animation programs for schools and educational establishments of various grades, where we presented the themes of the history of European integration, the mobility programs, the European citizenship, and we also often talked about our countries of origin. Some of the interventions were also in English, but the dominant communication language was primarily French. In addition, we also participated in various cultural events, where we provided information about traveling in Europe or studying abroad for the general public. And last but not least, we were also occupied by office work, by creating various popularization activities, games and creative ateliers or especially in my case also by preparing small graphic works like posters, leaflets, graphics for social networks.
We have travelled a lot because Europe Direct has operated throughout the all-region Hauts-de-France and sometimes in other part of France. Together with my colleagues, I participated in the European youth meeting EYE 2018 in Strasbourg, and I also travelled in my free time as a tourist, so I had the opportunity to get to know better the whole country.
During this year I have improved my French skill, except for daily communication, we also attended a language course at the University of Amiens. In addition, my Italian colleague has inspired me to start learning Italian. We had very nice relationships with other volunteers, we lived in a student residence, we often spent our free time together, and I believe we will stay in touch for the future. I’m very grateful to know them.
Although the project and the activities we have been doing have been definitely interesting and personally beneficial to me because I have learned so much, I must also say honestly that we have struggled with problems in the host organization as well. But I cannot classify these difficulties as a clear negative, because they gave me the possibility to reflect myself and my personality, to think about my personal boundaries and priorities. I am persuaded that will represent the benefit for my personal life and for my future professional career as well. I already know, among other things, that I would like to be more involved in volunteer activities at home in Brno.
I definitely do not regret the whole of my year in France, it is an important stage in my life so far, and I very much appreciate the fact that I had the opportunity to live this experience. I would also like to thank my sending organization to the European Youth Centre in Břeclav and especially to Jakub Miklín, who supported me during all my European Voluntary Service.