País de destino: España
País de origen: Ucrania
Programa: Servicio Voluntario Europeo (EVS/SVE)
Duración: 9 meses
Organización de acogida: Asociación Cultural Muxelka
MY STORY IN SPAIN
This is an attempt to make a short and informative summary of what took 7 years to 6 months to accomplish (it depends on what to consider a beginning) because trying to tell the story of me and Spain is pretty much like trying to tell the story of my life.
Who am I?
My name is Maryna and I come from Ukraine. I am 24 years old and I currently live in La Coruña, Spain.
What am I doing here?
I am an EVS volunteer which means I take part in a program sponsored by the European Commission and I can legally stay here for a certain period of time (in my case 9 months) doing useful stuff for the local community (in my case raising their foreign language proficiency) and getting a new experience of living and working abroad. All expenses are covered. The flight tickets, the visa, the accommodation. Plus I get pocket money every month. How awesome is that?
I found out about this program from the volunteers who were doing their EVS in my home town, Sumy. What a once-in-a-life-time opportunity, I thought. See, like I said, I come from Ukraine which is both fortunate and unfortunate. For one thing, it’s an awesome country full of beautiful and smart people, with a perfect climate, four seasons being represented in all their weather variety, and known for its hospitality. On the other hand, for now, it is a country of limited opportunities which is why it takes a bit of effort to actually get out and see the world. Because, for example, to get a visa to go to Europe, you need to prove that you are financially ready to make the trip, as well provide some proof that you have lots of reasons to stay in your home country (like having a job, a spouse, owning an apartment etc). I was or had none of those things. This and a very itchy desire to travel and try living in another country are the worst combination ever.
But! If you are accepted to take part in an EVS project, the host organization provides you with a lot of docs sufficient to satisfy the embassy.
The greatest thing is that the project offers you a chance to actually live in another country which is so much better than just traveling and sightseeing. At least for me. This way you can learn a foreign language, better understand what the locals’ way of life is like, what air their breathe, what thoughts they think, what idea about the rest of the world they have. And all that is the ultimate goal of traveling for me.
I thinking it all started way back in my childhood when I used to watch a lot of Latin American TV series. The way they spoke made want to learn how to speak Spanish. But it wasn’t until my second year at the university that I took up Spanish classes. My major was translation and I enjoyed learning languages. I heard that we have an excellent Spanish teacher in our city and I contacted her to arrange individual classes.
I graduated two years ago so I’ve been learning Spanish for a while now. Yet, it is still very rusty because most of the time I was studying by myself and progressing very slowly. Going to Spain was the best way to put all the theory into practice.
How did I apply for the project?
There are a lot of groups on Facebook and VK (which is a very popular social network among Russian speakers. If you don’t know it, you are missing on a lot) where they post open vacancies for EVS projects. I was stubbornly looking only for the once in Spain. I applied to several and very soon one of them accepted me.
The set of docs to apply is standard. You would usually have to send your CV and a motivation letter which passionately describes why you are the best candidate ever to do the job they offer. Sometimes, as an alternative to the motivation letter, they offer you to fill in a form answering questions that are crucial for the host organization. For most of the jobs, you don’t need a special qualification. It’s all about the passion and a necessary set of skills that you talk about in your motivation letter.
How did I apply for the visa?
This part will come in handy for those who come from Ukraine.
I applied for the visa of type D, student visa. The list of docs was as follows:
– Copy of the international passport and the internal passport
– Activity Agreement (the contract sent by the host organization that describes your tasks and rights)
– Invitation letter
– Medical insurance (provided by the sending organization)
– Medical certificate
– Certificate of no criminal record
– Confirmation of financial support from the Spanish National Agency (provided by the host organization)
I’ve been here two months now and so far I love it! For now, I have no idea whether I will look for a job here to extend my stay or just go back to Ukraine and apply the skills and knowledge I’ve acquired to a translating/teaching job in my home town. Who knows. The only thing I know for sure is that I am staying here at least until June 2016 and during this I will try to get the most out of this great opportunity. I recommend anyone and everyone aged 18-30 and seeking to get a job experience abroad to apply for EVS because…well, by now, I suppose, you know why!
El artículo preparado en la colaboración con la Asociación Cultural Muxelka (www.muxelka.org)