26 young people from 12 different countries are currently completing a European Voluntary Service in Switzerland and working in organisations, associations and institutions in the social, cultural or environmental spheres. From 17th-20th March, 19 of the volunteers took part in an introduction and evaluation seminar organised by Movetia. The discussion centred around practical aspects regarding integration in Switzerland, conflict resolution strategies and personal learning objectives within the framework of EVS periods lasting several months.

The volunteers are committed to a variety of fields. Donara from Armenia, for example, is helping at the CEVI Zürich with various activities, particularly looking after children in the Gloggespiel day nursery. Ellie, Iryna, Pablo and Nikola from Britain, the Ukraine, Spain and the Czech Republic, on the other hand, are finding out, in the Sennrüti eco-village in Degersheim (SG), what it’s like to live and work in an ecology-friendly holistic community. The cultural centre Fri-Son in Fribourg is receiving active support from volunteer Elvira from Spain.

In order to support the learning and character development and the integration of volunteers aged between 23 and 29 years, volunteers take part in support seminars. These are organised twice a year by Movetia. From 17th till 20th March, 19 young adults took part in such an introduction and evaluation training event. For those volunteers who haven’t been in Switzerland for very long, the focus was above all on practical information about life in Switzerland, possible ways of dealing with any conflicts, and reflecting on their objectives. Young men and women who have already been volunteering for a longer period made the most of the opportunity to talk about their experiences and take an in-depth look at their learning and character development.

At the same time as the training for the volunteers, Movetia arranged for the first time a networking afternoon for European Voluntary Service organisations. Taking part were, on the one hand, institutions and associations that plan and coordinate European Voluntary Service activities in Switzerland and employ volunteers, and, on the other hand, a mentor who is personally looking after a volunteer during her time in Switzerland. A central question of the networking meeting was how the volunteers can be suitably supported and assisted before, during and after their EVS. However, practical aspects in connection with the logistical planning of an EVS were also discussed. The exchange of experience was fascinating and rewarding for all those taking part and will help to improve the quality of projects within the framework of European Voluntary Service in Switzerland.

You can find more information on European Voluntary Service here. Young people interested in completing an EVS period abroad can also contact Eurodesk Switzerland.