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Impressions of volunteers

This page contains some vivid and fruitful thoughts and impressions of volunteers who are doing there European Voluntary service abroad. It will give you a bright insight into tasks and the life of a volunteer. You will find some reports of two volunteers who are doing their EVS in VIEWS Belgium.

Who ever wants to fill this page with reports about his or her voluntary experiences is warmly welcome.

In French fries Land

I am Gellert 25 years old from Romania. I came for six months to Belgium (Liège) where I am doing an EVS. I leave in an apartment together with other two visually impaired persons, Fabio from Italy, Patricia from Spain and her dog Lola.

In Liège, I am European volunteer at Orchidée Rose an NGO that helps Immigrants to integrate in giving them French lessons and at the Social Cultural Coordination of the Saint-Marguerite neighbourhood in my city.

At Orchidée Rose I helped with the French courses. Most of the time, I proposed a subject and we tried to learn as many new words as possible and to discuss about the subject. Once we discussed about football. We were quite some football funs.

At the Coordination I must do several things. One is to write for the neighbourhood review. I’ll write an article about an Art school that will be published in the summer. Another thing is to help with the French classes at St. Josheph School. There I work with teenagers. I participated also to events organized in the neighbourhood like a market where people could sell their old things.

We had the chance to have some mobility sessions and daily living sessions. Colombe guided my throughout my first steps in preparing something to eat.

I could also meet other volunteers from Belgium at the Seminars and I made some friends here in Liège.

I suppose you will guess what my favourite Belgium food is. Yes French fries. And I discovered the Merged a delicious sausage. Of course Belgium beers are great and I still have to come back to discover some others because in this period I will not have the time to try all of them.

At the end of our project we will organize an afternoon to all who want to come to see why we are in Belgium. We plan to show a film with Audio Description to do activities in the dark. I really hope that people will enjoy it.

I really recommend the EVS to all people. It is an opportunity to improve your language. It gives you the unique opportunity to better know another culture and to gain independence. It is certainly sometimes not easy but it is an occasion to learn.

And Belgium is a very nice country not only for it’s french-fries but for many other things.

I would like to thank Orchidée Rose, the Coordination Views International and all those who helped facilitate my staying in giving me tools, support, good advice and kindness. Thank you Patricia and Fabio to share this EVS and the so many wonderful moments we spent together. And last but not least thank you Lola for your joy.

A six Months Experience in Liège

I am Fabio 24 years old from Italy, student in Computer Sciences at the university. I am EVS European volunteer at IRHOV, a special school in Liège that hosts visually or hearing impaired pupils aged 3 to 21.
I am mostly working in Primary School but also with one Secondary School with visually impaired students. To these children I am teaching how to use the computer, we play together, write stories and we do many other interesting activities. I am also helping them to improve their Braille skills as well as teaching them elementary English. Sometimes I also propose them musical and gastronomic activities in order to discover Italy or Belgium and with some other we draw and play social games adapted to visually impaired people.

Except work I have a very active social life. My new friends helped me to discover the Belgium beer and some Belgium cities or towns I am very happy about these discoveries.

Certainly they are things that I disliked. First of the entire climate. It often rains and all of a sudden. April is not the best period to go here at the seaside as in my region.

Finally I can say the EVS is a recommended experience. Thanks to this project I had the opportunity of cultural exchanges with local and foreigners. I could exchange methodological information, traditions, opinions and habits. I improved my French level and I began to learn a new language, I received and shared my knowledge, I learned to be more tolerant, and I enjoyed my activities.

I consider my EVS experience as a possibility to improve and widen my self towards an open mentality. It is also a possibility to improve your sense of responsibility and of course it offers many occasions to have fun. So it is to be redone.

The Great Voyage

Life is like a trip by train. My European Voluntary Service (EVS) is a part of this travel. It started in January. The beginning was difficult: rain, snow, cold, but with a bag pack full of illusions. I travelled with my faithful companion Lola, my dog.

At the first stop of the train, someone very attaching and charming got on. She welcomed me with her nice smile. It is her who will guide as and teach us every ting. Béa.

Some minutes later, the Train Manager arrived. In the beginning she seemed quite serious but since then I discovered in her a very amusing person always ready to help passengers even if some times these passengers are grouch. Anca

She asked my ticket in Spanish. “Patricia Gil from Murcia who travals to Liège Belgium. It’s a long way. Isn’t it?”

At the next stop a young man got on. This young man will do in the same time like me this experience. He has also to learn and to share a lot. We will stay in the same coach during the whole duration of the trip. Gellert.
At the next stop the train has already left Spain. While I’m worried about my language knowledge, here comes my first translator. For my own linguistic interest he won’t be all the time in my coach. Fabio.

Going to the bar coach, at the end of the train, I met a very nice couple attentive to all passengers from the train. Ahmet and Magda.

A round a cup of tea we discovered that we were all going to Liège. Some of us go to visit it, others to stay there for a longer period, or to move there. They were inquiring about the purpose of my travel. I answered that I am a volunteer in an NGO called Santé Nord-Sud. What will I do there?

Well. I’ll help supporting a project that has as purpose the prevention of visual impairment of people from Congo Africa in collecting non-used spectacles with the help of pharmacists, opticians, physicians, schools etc. A very enthusiastic to project work on, but sometimes I was confronted with difficulties.

How did I find this project. Thanks to the Youth Service of the City of Murcia in Spain.

On the way a strong rain came. Anca, the only one who spoke my language and helped me to feel at ease had to get of as she had some work to do.

Travel Out of the blue, a passenger sat next to me. He will stay for the whole duration of this trip and of the next journey too.

This Belgium-Peruan passenger speaks Spanish. He helped me to understand the language during the whole travel. He told me many nice things about Belgium. The spectacular nature of a glass, the so refreshing beers, the promenades along the Meuse River, or the numerous cultural associations where there are millions of things to do.

We also spoke about the many Belgium singers, painters, peoples of science. When you think that all these famous people comes from such a small and young country.

This country has still to do some more steps to the accomplishment of some adaptations for disabled people. I’m thinking of the adaptations of streets of ways of public transportation.

Despite all difficulties I met many travellers in this train from many other countries, cultures and with many different ideas. I really learned a lot.

It is an experience that people should live. It opens your mind to see the point of view of others and to learn to better appreciate what we have at a given time.

The train has reached its destination with us and all the other passengers. Some of them have a re-turn ticket. I personally will stay longer.

So enjoy your travel and take all opportunities that life gives you.
I’d like to thank all those who shared this Travel and also to my family and my friend who supported me from distance.

Patricia Gil Aldeguer
Murcia (Spain)