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Elin's insight into EVS

My name is Elin; I am 23 years old and I am from Wales in the UK.

I have been visually impaired all my life due to a condition called Lebers Congenital Amaurosis. Though I could see much more when I was a child, this particular condition caused me to lose my vision very gradually until I was fourteen years old, when it deteriorated very quickly and I became almost totally blind.

While I was at university, I made the decision to get a guide dog. This turned out to be really lifechanging for me because having my guide dog Jazzy gave me much more confidence to explore the world independently.

After I graduated, I started looking for work but didn’t have very much luck. It had always been an ambition for me to live and work abroad for a time, but I had lots of concerns about how I would do this with my visual impairment and how practical this would be for my guide dog. Never the less, I took a chance and sent my CV and motivation message to a list of European institutions asking for work experience.

The first I heard about EVS was when Clara who was doing her EVS in 2016/17, called me out of the blue saying that she had read my email and that she wanted to tell me about EVS. That was in February 2017, by October I was taking the Eurostar from London to Brussels ready to start this EVS adventure.

Elin at Eurostar London departures

Elin at Eurostar London departures

My EVS project includes working at the executive office of VIEWS International, being responsible for the communication by writing the newsletter, updating the website and posting on social media, as well as assisting with any ongoing projects and events that might be going on at the office. I also lead awareness raising activities at La Baraka, a local youth centre.

My work at VIEWS is interesting and always different. I love writing, so I enjoy creating articles for the newsletter each month, but I also like helping to organise different activities for the office such as the dinner in the dark. It also gives me the chance to meet so many great people from all over Europe through the different international projects we run.

A very important part of my adapted EVS project has been the adapted French course. I had barely any French when I arrived, which made it very challenging for the first few months. However, the one-to-one lessons were really helpful for me and since I was able to change schools I have made a great improvement.

I have been keeping a log of my EVS adventure on my blog www.seemyway.org

EVS is not only a valuable opportunity for me to get professional experience and to learn another language, but it also enables me to achieve my dream of living and working abroad.