But let’s go a little bit back in time.
My very first international experience was in 2012 - my first big adventure. Only 15 years old, I went on a Youth Exchange in Sivas, Turkey. You can’t even imagine what a mesmerizing experience it was for that ignorant teenager who had never left his country before. That was the first time I heard about EVS. Some of the Polish and Turkish participants were telling those amazing adventurous stories about the countries they visited. At that time I was a bit too young to be a volunteer, but that was the exact moment when I put it somewhere at the back of my mind waiting for the right moment.
Fast forward to November 2017 when I was I last year university student (I study International Relations in Germany) and I was looking for an internship in order to finish my studies. I was in that weird mood where I wasn’t really sure what exactly I wanted to do next. One day we had a guest at one of the lectures. It was an Italian girl who introduced us to the EVS and told us her story. I saw that as a sign from above.
For the following couple of months I was looking for a project. But none of them seemed to be the right one. That was until the end of January 2018. By coincidence I found out that an organization in Brindisi, Italy is looking for a Bulgarian volunteer. After two years and a half in the Western part of Germany, I was craving for a sunny, warm place, preferably with a sea nearby, so it seemed quite perfect. I got in touch with my supervisor and less than a month later I was already in Italy.
On 24th of February I arrived on the airport in Brindisi, where I was picked up by the president of the organization and the adventure officially began.
Although I’m really tempted to describe every small detail of it I will not do it. It’s like explaining someone how beautiful the sunset was. You can try do describe every color, every shade, every sparkling light, but unless you experience it you cannot fully understand it.
My motives to take that decision may not have been exactly the right ones, but now that I’m more than halfway through the adventure called EVS I think it was the best decision I’ve ever made. It completely changed my mind, my life and my own world. For those months I was sharing a room with crazy Neapolitans in Galatone and sneaking out for a quick beer with the amazing Romanian and Turkish guys during the language class breaks in Nola. I was hiding under beds in Corato and guiding British tourists in Lecce. I was drinking Bulgarian summer cocktails on the pavement in Bologna and explaining very persistently the different aspects of the globalization to the teenagers in Brindisi. I was a painter, farmer, lecturer and public speaker. And most importantly, I’m pretty sure that I permanently stretched my stomach due to the delicious Italian food.
I would like to end this by encouraging you to give EVS a shot. If you’re thinking about it but you’re not completely convinced yet or it sounds too good to be true, I promise you - it is not.
“Risk to choose, choose to fight, fight to change, change to love, love to face your life. “