European Voluntary Service in Norway

There is a growing network of opportunities for young people all over Europe looking for a challenge abroad.

European Voluntary Service

New beginnings: European Voluntary Service

This year, One World Institute has become a coordinator and host of it’s first ever European Voluntary Service volunteer team in a new youth work project, called “Make a change – Be a Best Buddy!”
European Voluntary Service (EVS) under Erasmus+ program is one that connects youth with volunteering projects across the world.

The European Voluntary Service (EVS) team flew to Oslo, Norway, and took a train to Lillehammer one week ago. It has passed meeting other volunteers, exploring the school and enjoying Norwegian nature. Welcome, Chiara (23) from Italy, George (27) from Romania and Nihat (20) from Turkey!

How did it start

The start was not without road bumps. In Chiara’s case, “My flight from Milano (Italy) had a delay. When I arrived to Oslo, I missed my train and came to Lillehammer late. For Nihat, the arrival was filled with excitement, curiosity and expectations regarding all the new things I would get to know. Will I like the town and my flatmates? Will I be good at what I am doing, and what are the other volunteers going to be like?”

Norway can surprise in many ways, especially if one comes from the other side of Europe. Nihat compares it with Turkey. “I used to live in Istanbul which is a highly populated and busy city. Here is more quiet and peace. The train ride to Lillehammer was one of the most stunning and spectacular routes I have ever seen. Since the first second, I am already in love with the nature in this country!”. George adds, “Norway is a tremendously clean country, so clean that I felt bad for stepping inside the train, thinking there’s probably some dirt left on my shoe.”

About the project

The European Voluntary Service (EVS) volunteers will live here for 6 months as youth workers for the project “Make a change – Be a Best Buddy!”. The project focuses on inclusion of disadvantaged and marginalized youth. A growing concern in Scandinavia and Europe as a whole”. It’s for a group of youngsters from difficult social backgrounds.

A European Voluntary Service (EVS) project does not require professional experience in the field, but it can be an asset. For instance, George has done youth work before. “I finished my master’s degree in psychology and actually made it out as a licensed psychotherapist. That means jack in Romania. I’m hoping that in the northern countries my skills will be better put to use”.  The greatest strength of a volunteer is motivation.

What did we do in the first week?

During their first week, the European Voluntary Service (EVS) team has done a plethora of introduction activities. Chiara lists the meetings, “We have done a presentation about ourselves in the school and had meetings with the headmaster, with our Norwegian teacher, and also with our 2 mentors.” George sums up the rest: “I searched for treasures, boated, personalized my room, took a dive in the pool, saw a double rainbow, played on about every instrument I could find (and there are many), juggled on a hill, petted dogs, chased after sheep and more.”

The European Voluntary Service (EVS) volunteers also learned how to cook together and went on a camping trip. Nihat concludes: “Boating on the lake and camping over-night are the highlights of my first week.“  “For me, it was kinda hard, because I’m not used to hiking,” admits Chiara, “But I think that was a good experience to try.

” Challenges bring the volunteers together. Here are Nihat’s thoughts about team life so far:  “I share a room with George and, to be honest, I had expected to have my own room in terms of privacy. Nevertheless, the three of us became friends really quickly and we are already planning to visit Oslo together.”

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BTP period – 3 months

Returning to school with heads and hands full of new knowledge and energy for Bringing it to the Public. Meeting with the team, showing, telling, exchanging experiences and making it common knowledge.

Producing articles, pamphlets, videos, presentations, exhibitions, speeches for debate forums, books and more. Studying further the curriculum in Fighting with The Poor, bringing the truth to the public. 

Going to different schools around Europe to spread the new knowledge in various creative ways – speeches, newspaper articles, lectures at universities and colleges, debates and other public events, exhibitions – leading to a better understanding and inspiring to take an action.

Passing the final exams in Fighting with The Poor. Using the last months together to conclude our future perspectives and possible ways of improving The Poor’s quality in life with humble ways of sharing knowledge.

Volunteer period – 6 months

The Project Work in Africa or India in cooperation with Humana People to People. In this period, you can work at:

  • Teacher training colleges
  • Educating teachers for rural areas
  • Vocational schools for young people
  • Schools for street children.Preschools
  • Sanitation and hygiene in rural areas
  • Tree planting campaigns
  • Raising funds for social projects by forming partnerships and selling second hand clothes and shoes
  • Stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS (following the program TCE/Total Control of the Epidemic)

Arriving at the project in Africa or India, having left behind a courageous journey where fundamental human capabilities have been turned around, refreshed and energised by knowing that things such as travelling can be done in a totally different way than the mainstream tourist travelling.

Ready for doing the work needed at the project, bringing plans and materials from the previous periods. Getting to know the people at the project, the vision and idea of the project and the many concrete tasks to be carried out.

Carrying out the tasks as defined within the necessities of the project and by the Project Leadership. Fighting shoulder to shoulder with The Poor: building preschools, starting Garden Farming, doing literacy campaigns, eradicating malaria, teaching about big issues of our time while working as a teacher at DNS, starting income-generating activities, working as a TCE Special Force in the fight against HIV/AIDS – as a few examples.

Studying and working with your Specialisation in Fighting with The Poor, finalising with a People’s Exam and a written thesis at the end of the period. Acquiring skills in information work: making interviews, taking notes and pictures, writing summaries and reports, recording videos.

Living together with the people at the project, being a good example of living a humble life while improving things with small means to make daily life better.

Travel period – 3 months

Living on the road, being on the move, finding means of transport and places to sleep, talking to people on the road, being curious to understand and know about the countries you are traveling through.

Making investigations, meeting people, visiting their workplaces, staying in their homes, understanding their problems, meeting their culture and values and sharing thoughts with them about the world and the future.

Telling people about your venture to a third world country, trying out bringing it to the public what you have so far experienced and learned. Putting up investigations on a higher level, asking tough questions to self and to the group, getting hold of more answers and putting up new questions.

Taking notes and pictures, writing reports and discussing the seen and the experienced.
Finding good ways of sticking together in the Trios and in the group as such during the travel period.

Study Period – 6 months

At this school, you will find that learning is not first and foremost about listening to the teacher.

The school’s Program consists of a range of intense and spirited activities, theoretical studies and experiences that constitute the sum of learning and life processes carried through by a group of people who for a considerable period of time share a Program with each other that demands cooperation and efforts, and which at the same time is sprinkled with elements that are inspiring and also quite out of the ordinary.

Thus, learning will also take place through communication, deliberations, through working out your plan for learning and sticking to it, and putting to use what you learned, the methods you used, the ideas you got from it and the results you harvested from the training.

You will train yourself in being adventurers and survivors, living and traveling under very humble conditions, not using much money and always finding a way out by ingenuity, being smart and sticking together with your teammates.