Europe and EVS

How it works European Voluntary Service? Who is a volunteer?

There is some money, lots of projects, lots of countries and lots of volunteers. Local organizations present their projects and European Union adjudicates financial aid. Theory says that the objective is to encourage international exchange and youth in action among European countries. Once local organizations get approval, they select volunteers from different countries through an intermediary agent, the so called sending-organizations. S0 receives volunteers, gives them information about this program and puts in contact the volunteer and the hosting organization. When the volunteer arrives to the European destination, hosting organization provides flat, food, transport and pocket money. I am still writing  about theory.

My second question is: What does it means volunteer? What does an evs volunteer do?

From my point of view, a volunteer would be a person involved in social and educative actions. Philosophy related to this kind of program is based on the development of personal skills. Also means to work without the expectation of getting economic or personal profit. Considering this, I can imply that a volunteer must give in his time and effort as a generous act of voluntary decision. A volunteer should try to help others and offer some value, that is to say, the volunteer gives any useful portion of his/her time and ideals. However, the point where ideal and time emerges, the concept of volunteer starts to be relative.  So, the goal should be to get balance between me and others and to understand meanings between local, national and international.

One of the most interesting points of this program is the idea of voluntary work based on methods of non-formal education. This policy protects the subjective conceptions and freedom of expression for the volunteer since he can establish his/her own method of helping or teaching, which doesn’t have to be attached to regulated programs.  This topic is directly related with the binomial autonomy – cooperation into a team. It means that if I am a volunteer, I shouldn’t have to follow instructions permanently; but it also means that I must know how to organize my own time; it means that I could make proposals and spend my time in tasks where I could help others or develop myself in a constructive way; but also means that I should get results. At least, I must have the possibility to do it. Where possibilities exist, opportunities can be found.

But this is not so easy because: What is the most effective way and how could I measure it? Where are limits between my personal achievements and cooperation into schedules made by others? Do I know myself? Do I assume my limits? How does my personal condition operate within international contexts?

On the other hand; can ideals overcome bureaucracy? If international public institutions regulate and national ones manage the control:  How does this administrative division influence the concrete reality of the volunteer?  Who are responsible and how are established the gravity of conflicts? In this case: What is the real interest and value of diplomacy? If  philosophy of this program is designed by macro policies and and micro-policies of each country execute aspects related to the daily routine; can be possible a real balance between philosophy and pragmatism? How are ethical criteria performed by each project and country?

It makes me think about the idea of Europe. A common idea, a common economic policy established over a great cultural and historical diversity. The same policy embraces and works into different realities. It makes me think about the meaning of Europe, and I decided to look for some information. There’re two interpretations highly analyzed: one, regarding its ethimology: Europa is compsed by eu (thurh) and opsis (eyes). Some researches reject the Greek origin of this word and consider influences from previous languages (Europe as extensive view). Europe was also a mythological figure, daughter of Phoenician king Agenon. Zeus, metamorphosed into a white bull, kidnapped and carried her to the island of Crete. However, there is a third meaning of Europe: Jupiter’s satellite discovered by Galileo. When I think about my condition as European citizen, I don’t know why, but the image of a satellite round my mind…

Some questions are not easy.




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