EVS Diary

Passing the baton

Well, I’m Claire, from France, 25 year old girl freshly out of university. It is not my first time living abroad. But it’s my first time living in a country I don’t speak the language. I used to live in Canada and Italy as part of my studies. And that’s what got me into travels.

Why EVS ?
It all started when I was in Canada, thinking about what was next for me. I wanted to take a gap year to do things instead of studying them. Scrolling the web searching for opportunities, I read about EVS and I was immediately seduced by the program. Living abroad helping the community is my thing ! It matches my interest for intercultural learning and solidarity. I have been volunteering for a lot of different projects since I was 17 : workcamps, festivals, humanitarian NGOs, youth organizations,…

Though, since 2011, the way was pretty long for me to actually start my EVS. Let me reassure you, it’s usually not that long, but I encountered bad luck and bad timing along my way. And I’ve done some pretty cool stuffs in the mean time like another academic exchange in the exquisite city of Turin, Italy, getting a Master’s degree in project management for the NGOs and traveling and making new friends along the way.

Why Slovakia ?
I usually answer this question by saying that I have not really chosen Slovakia nor Bratislava. I choose my volunteer position. And the recruitment process was very fast. I was searching for an EVS position for quite a long time already when I received an email from BDC stating they were searching for an EVS volunteer. It’s still a mystery how they got my email address, but I liked what I read and just sent my application before leaving for vacations. While I was enjoying Italy, I got a skype call with Gabi and Betka. To be sure I was a good match they asked me to do a little assignment that I successfully completed and that’s how I got accepted. It all took less than a month and I got only one more before leaving for the mysterious country of Slovakia ! I immediately bought a guidebook but got disappointed when it mostly spoke about Czech Republic !

What will you do here then ?
My job is to attract foreigners living in Bratislava (Erasmus students, expatriates workers,…) to volunteer in local organizations. I will also help BDC with communications and office work. I can not really tell you more right now, I just started but follow this blog and you’ll know more !


Claire Billon-Grand

Photo : Tomasz Truszkowsk

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