Past-EVS Volunteer (Dublin)
Agathe Friquet is from Marseille in France. She participated in the EVS programme from July 2010 to June 2011 in Back Lane Hostel. She tells us how the experience opened her mind.
I had been studying Psychology for three years and wanted to get some real life experience, outside the classroom. I was always interested in travelling and found the EVS programme as the perfect opportunity to fulfill all of my needs.
It was a challenge to move to a foreign green and rainy country where I didn't know anything, not even the language. I am happy to realise that I made it. I even learned more than I was expecting. I was very free in my projects so I worked in different topics: being with the service users, organising activities and events, working with other volunteers, doing statistics, helping to update the website of the organisation, etc.
I learned a lot about myself and homelessness; I didn't really know how to act/react with a homeless person or alcoholic person before. Now I feel comfortable to sit and talk with them, I am able to understand them and sometimes I am even able to help them. We shared many experiences of life, conversations and laughs.
I was living with 5 other EVS volunteers from Spain, Turkey, Germany and Italy while I was doing my service. It was the opportunity to share, learn from each others and experiment things in Dublin like juggling, African dance and of course the Irish night life.
The whole experience opened my mind.
Daniela Schmitt is from Germany. She participated on the EVS programme from July 2010 to June 2011. She volunteered at Clancy Night Shelter (now closed).
I did EVS to experience a new country and to learn more about the issues of drug addiction. In Germany, I was already volunteering in a similar project and hoped to work as a social worker for drug users in the future. My expectations were fulfilled when I saw Clancy for the first time. I liked the project from the beginning when I arrived there. It was exactly what I wanted to do. It was interesting to meet drug users at a very low step of their life, as all of my experience before that was at the stage of rehabilitation.
I liked my task there, the freedom that I could do the activities I like to do. I learned so much this year, as it was my first experience of living on my own and without the support of family and friends close around. As well living in a foreign country and speaking another language daily, at work and at home. I achieved a lot.