EVS volunteers in Young Folks LV, why are you here?
"We ask ourselves many questions.
The most important question is – what will EVS bring to me?
One question, that completely turned over and changed life.
And each of us has his own answer, why to be here right now, in Riga"

What you need to know about us.
- what is my name?
- who am I?
- my cherished dream?
EVS in Young folks lv
Do you really just want to live like this in your country or do you want more freedom?
Tiko
My name is Tiko Abuladze and I am 23 years old. I am from Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, and I am currently doing EVS in Riga, Latvia.

Culture is so strong and powerful in my country. All the time it tells you how to live. At first, you have to finish a school, then you have to continue your education. You should study and work at the same time, after that it is time to get married.

No one asks you what do you really want, because they already know, what do you want and what do you need. They know it better than you. I was also that kind of culture's product. I finished my school, I got a bachelor's degree, then I continued my education as a master. Of course, I worked at the same time. But I could not ever understand that part of culture,

I always felt like I am an alien in my motherland. My culture forced me to live by its rules.
Always, as I remember, I wanted to travel. I wanted to know how other people live, to see other cultures, to try other cuisine, even to breath different air… I have never thought that I have enough time and enough money to travel, also there were many obstacles that made it unbelievable for me.

The country I was born in is not a part of the European Union – so we, Georgian citizens, need a visa, and most of the time it is quite complicated to get it. Before my EVS, I thought that traveling and getting to know new cultures was this kind of dream, that never comes true. Actually, I acted against my culture, and I won.

For me, the most important overall is to never stop believing that I can have a new beginning. I have let go my old memories.

Now the EVS is a new beginning for me, new way how to live and how to see the world.
EVS in Young folks lv
Are you living, or you are trying to live?
David
My name is David Sanchez Olivares and I am 23 years old. Since my childhood I have realized that the world is really huge. However, living on an island is like to live in a jail – sometimes you are hiding behind a happy person mask in your motherland, just because you are in your comfort zone.

I was really in an «easy environment», with a good family and friends, but everything started to become worse. It was because of our political situation in Spain and about corruption, and also that the educational system is a pity, and because of other circumstances, which you face day by day.

In the same year, I had to leave my university because it became too expensive and unaffordable for me. At that time, our government started to support more big businesses, so getting a job for young people became an impossible mission – the "great business people" only wanted to get little contracts, till 3 months.

I was really disappointed with my present life there, my father and grandfather had gone at the same time and everything started to seem worst. Sometimes you don't know how to continue living, how to survive...

23 years old, without a degree, without a permanent job and overall with half of your family destroyed. Circumstances, I guess?
Suddenly, something happened. I was walking in my hood and I decided to check one place, called «Erasmus Voluntary Service». Something changed inside me. I was really desperate, trying to find a little scape of my reality, but life is so wise, so smart, and sometimes so naughty. What is the reality? Was it being mine?

I made the fastest speech that I ever have done in my life, telling all my story to a random guy, who was inside this building. I was asking for a help, and overall, for something different that I had at the moment. This man not only gave me the best chance in my life, he also gave me the hope and the strength to believe in that something better.

In less than a week I was into the plane going 8000 km far away from my homeland, and for the first time in lot of years I was thinking only in future. I really realized what the reality is. I started to understand why from my childhood I was thinking about the enormity of the world. At that moment, I didn't know that I would have the best experience of my life.

EVS is not only about being useful in another country, it is not only about holidays, it is not only about learning new languages. It is not only to improve your communicational skills, it is not only to make a new family, it is not only to meet amazing friends, it is not only to enjoy views and different experiences, it is not only about love, it is not only to appreciate every detail. It is something much bigger. It is the chance to be happy.

EVS can save your life.
EVS in young folks LV
Do you really like what do you do, or it only seems like?
Ira
My name is Ira Hoiuk and I'm 20 years old. I grew up in a small town. I have never known who I am and what do I like. I was sure that I have everything – good parents at home, good friends in the town, good scores at the school. But I felt that it is not enough. I wanted more, but I did not know what exactly.

When I went to the university, everything had changed. I realized that I can do whatever I want.

It was the crazy time. I started to travel a lot taking part in different projects, which had granted money. I did not care if it will be useful for me, I was thinking only about one thing - "the universe gives me a chance to try everything. I want to feel and I want to learn as much as possible". I was really eager to travel, to get new knowledge, to meet new people.

I started to work as a freelancer. I needed money, so I started to write articles. Unfortunately, the pay was not enough for me. However, I did not know another way how to get money. I wanted to feel more independent and mature. At the same time, I totally hated this job.

After the first year of my university, I had found a new job. I got the position of the editor-in-chief in a corporate magazine of a Swiss company. The first serious job and a lot of responsibilities. I could not sleep during that month. I tried to do everything perfectly. I was focused on this magazine and could not think about something else. Finally, when I quit that job, I had been disappointed in myself. "I could do it better". For me, it was the first experience and the first fault.

In the second year, I found another job. I needed to finish part of the practice for my university, so I went to work for online media at Lutsk. One year earlier, I was at their school for journalists, so they already have known me and accepted me.

It was such a difficult month. I lived in another city and every day I have been driving to the office by bus for almost 2 hours. Day per day I worked hard – a lot of events, a lot of work. My phone showed me 20-25 km per day – I walked these kilometres by foot. I was back home every day at 8-9 in the evening and I was too exhausted to do something else. I understood that being a reporter is not for me.

Although they liked how I worked. At least, this company suggested me to open online media in my town and to be editor-in-chief there. I was thinking about it a lot. Am I really ready for this job? It could be the first online media for the town where live 4000 people, and for a region, where live almost 30 000 people. I was really afraid. I said, "yes, I will do it".

After that, it has been so much working every day. I walked to the university with my laptop and worked every free minute. The first month was so challenging for me. I had not enough experience to be working like that. My readers saw it and left bad comments about my articles. Emotionally, I felt too bad and disappoint again. However, I continued to work and to improve my skills. It was my personal challenge and finally I did it. Bad comments disappeared, and people started to write me "great job, thank you, we have never saw how looks a good journalist work".

One day a woman called me from Portugal and said "Thank you so much for your work. I have to work abroad, but it is really important to me to know about my motherland". I was crying after her words. That work was too difficult, but so important.

After half a year I understood that I did my best at this position and I have to continue my way.

Where? How? What do I want? What I really like to do?

I have not the answers.
At that time, I was also working in several non-governmental organisations (NGO). In one of them, almost immediately I was hired as a head of the media department. I promoted a few projects and tried to create strong PR team – at first year at the university.

In other organization a year later, in second year of my university, I was the head of the debate club in my city. I made several complex projects, learned how to find sponsors, how to think through the program of tournaments, how to manage the project team, how to negotiate in subtle differences. Everything was good. I saw the happy and grateful eyes of the participants of these events and it gave me joy. "Great job, girl", I thought.

But then, there was a failure. I am not ready to share it now, but it broke me. I came to the university hostel after one project and I cried for a long time. I was ready to refuse the responsibility for managing projects, because I took on too much, and I failed.

"I am a loser", I thought. Later, due to my friends, I realized, that it was not my mistake. But I was sure I could prevent that.

Nobody is perfect. Fortunately, I accepted that I cannot be perfect.

Undoubtedly, I had done a lot. But why did I do this? Have I really enjoyed, or it was just an illusion of happiness?

Suddenly one friend sent me a message about NGO Young Folks LV. They were in search for a volunteer from Ukraine, who wants to be a part of EVS project in Riga.

In a time of one night I had written my CV and motivation letter and sent it them.

After two weeks they wrote me: "If you are ready to come, we are waiting for you".

This year is for understanding myself. Now I can reflect a lot about my goals and priorities. It is my personal gap year.

EVS truly can help you to find your way.
Believe in yourself and do whatever you want.
Life is too short to be afraid.