Our Stories

Ruta, Lithuania

Coming Soon!!!

Cathy Lambert, Belgium

Unë Jam Cathy (I’m Cathy) dhe unë jam nga  Belgjikë ( and I from Belgium) and I was 25 years old when I to did my EVS in Klinë in 2017. Before my EVS, I didn’t know English (just some things but it was not enough). During my skype interview, I had someone from my sending organization with me to translate everything. Also, Ardhmeria knew in advance that I « didn’t speak English » but accepted me even with this, Ardhmeria gave me the opportunity to learn English. Today, if I can write in English without useing google translation, it’s thanks to this experience. My first 2 months were very difficult for me : Kosovo and Klinë were very different from my country (+ communication problems). After, I adapted myself and I’m very proud of me to did face to my difficulties. Now, I feel more strong and I know that I can to do face more my futurs difficulties. In Ardhmeria, I teached  french with teenagers, I had my theater workshop with children and sometimes, with another volunteer, we  did some activities during the summer time. It was very interesting to do this activities in Ardhmeria, I developed my skills more than I had before doing EVS. I’m proud of my children and my students. Sometimes, I had some particulary activities too, like : Independance day, European day, afternoon movie, Ecologic day. Also, the voluunters from Klinë organize this activities and sometimes, they help EVS volunteers for our workshops. People in Kosovo are friendly. Also, I enjoyed my EVS to discover Kosovo : Mirusha waterfull (must do), Pristina, Pejë, Prizren (my favourite city and I to did « Bunarfest » it was just amazing and AMAZING and I had an interview for « Klan Kosova TV »), Gjakovë, Rugovë mountains, Beers Sanctuary, different monasterys, traditional festival (albanian dances). Also, thanks to the group facebook « young people in Kosovo », I had different meetings and I had different opportunities to discover mountains and events : Hiking in Valbona, Hiking & camping in Theth (« blue eye » is very beautiful), hiking weekend in Rugovë and I slept to a wooden chalet, I saw the sunrise from a wild beach in Albania, etc… Also, I explored Balkans in general : Albania (like I explained before : Valbona, Theth, beach. I wanted explore more like Tirana but I didn’t have the time), Montenegro (Podgorica (less interesting), Kotor, Budva, Ulcinj, sea dance festival), Serbia (Kraljevo, I was with couchsurfing and I spent  My Easter holiday weekend here.  /!\ for the Travel Kosovo-Serbia), Republic of Macedonia (Skopje, Matka Canyon and I wanted to visit lake in  Ohrid, but I didn’t have the time too), Greece (Thessaloniki and Athens). I was too in Bosnia (Sarajevo) for my arrival training course. This training course helped me a lot for felling better after my cultural shock. It was a very good experience. Also, I keep contact with some voltunteers with who I had news meetings during all my EVS (4 time with 3 volunteers). My EVS change myself because : I learned a lot, I progress myself, I made news skills, I know new cultures, I traveled a lot, news meetings from different countries, etc … .
I’ll conclude with two words : FALEMINDERIT SHUME.

Dora, Lithuania

The resolve to participate in EVS project was the best decision which I had ever accepted. And the project selection – even much more better. I am really happy and thankful for everyone that I had an opportunity to come to such an interesting country - Kosovo!
It was very strange when I came to Kosovo because almost everything looks for me like in my parents stories of their adolescence. I had the feeling that I came 15 years back in past. However, this feeling was quickly changed by local people.
In the begining I was a bit confused because I needed to find out what I want to do by myself. However, after some time in Kosovo I noticed that young people are very interesting in new activities. It motivated me to choose which activities I would like to lead.
During 6 months I had completely freedom to do what I want. I had an opportunity to engage in activities which I like the most and to share my skills with others. And at the same time to learn much more.
I noticed that people in Kosovo is much more happier (or at least they just showed themselves from good side to me). It looks like they can enjoy every single thing. It was a huge pleasure to be around happy and enthusiastic people every day.
It was the first time in my life when time flew so fast. I had such a good moments there. Talking about both, work in Youth Center and leisure time. I had never thought that I would like to work with children so much. Of course there were hard moments when I was tired from those excited and all the time full of energy kids. But after everything it was so nice to get feedbacks (people in Kosovo never forget to give them!). They really made me feel important and somehow special. I have no idea how much I was usefull in Youth Center, but I am sure that the Youth Center was 100% usefull for me.
From my experience, I can say that you need to be spontaneous if you want to survive in Kosovo! Just “once in blue moon“ everything was like I planned. In activities, events or traveling – almost nothing goes how you expected, but in my opinion, it is even better, because then you can be creative and to experience a lot of adventures. For example, buses are late almost all the time, there is no rules in traffic, lunch breakes last as much as you want, a lot of coffee breaks and etc. – everything looks complicated and messy. However, at the same moment it makes this country so special and charming.
I can not count how many new things I learned and found out about myself during this project. I had priceless opportunity get to know with Balkan culture, traditions, languages and people from very close. For these things and all kind of support I am really thankful for everyone who was around during my stay in Kosovo!

Cairit Eit, Estonia

In my motivation letter I wrote: „Have you ever had a feeling that something good is about to happen? Have your sixth sense told you „Do it!“ even before you know what you have to do? I had this feeling when I saw a list of new EVS projects. Right when I saw Kosovo in that list I knew that this is the place and the project for me.”
I still remember the feeling I was experiencing when I wrote that. Now, more than one year after writing that and after concluding my project, my enthusiasm is even bigger. It WAS the right place and the right project for me.
During the six months I met incredible people, heard unbelievable stories and visited extraordinary places, but most importantly, I was happy. I had a chance to work on projects and topics that I love the most. I had a chance to be creative, to enjoy every single moment.
When people ask me what I learned the most from the project, I would say that I learned to know myself. I learned how to be free, how to be grateful, how to wake up with a smile every morning. I wouldn’t have learned those things without the people I met. There are no words to say how thankful I am for every single person that came into my life. No matter if they were colleagues, neighbors, best friends, other volunteers or my students. I really mean it when I say that each of you gave me something priceless. I hope you all know how thankful I am for that!
Along with personal development, I learned a lot about new cultures, traditions and the Balkans as a whole, and even a bit of a new language too. During the project, I really tried to enter into this completely different world for me and I believe I was successful. Though, there are still some things I didn’t figure out in six months. For example, why do people wash the streets every week? It’s impossible to count every moment I thought that it had been raining, but after a couple of minutes realized that it had been just another Collective Street Washing Day. How can people consume so much sugar? Instead of asking “Do you want some sugar with your tea?” I’m asking now: “Do you want some tea with your sugar?”. And I still start laughing every time somebody asks me if I am tired. Do I look so bad? But overall, I love this weirdness.
There are also a lot of great things in Kosovo besides people of course, such as absolutely amazing nature, very nice weather (although people like to complain a lot about it… try living in the North Pole) and the one and only- MACCHIATO! All this together makes Kosovo unique. 2000 kilometers might sound like a lot, but this special place will always be close to my heart, no matter what.

Ieva Šerelytė, Lithuania

I remember when the first time I heard about volunteering opportunity in Kosovo. Honestly, a lot of different thoughts and questions came into my mind. Am I strong enough to come in a different country I don‘t know anything about? Will I be able to understand and accept different culture and survive alone? J It would be my first time when I would stay for a longer period in a strange country alone – far away from home, family and friends.
BUT. I decided to jump out from my comfort zone. Leaving my home and family behind, I packed my bags and made my trip to Kosovo. And you know, I will never regret for this step. It was a choice that left a big step further in my life, and one that I will remember forever.
I landed in Kosovo at the 1 st of February. I remember when I came to visit youth center and met the team I will work for 6 months.  From the first minute I felt a warm atmosphere inside and all doubts I had before dissapeared.
I was really lucky because the youth center gave me a freedom to find the ways I want to work on.
During six months of volunteering I orginised daily handicrafts activities for children, also I had an interactive English course where we can improvise and exchange the knowledge of languages with the kids. During my volunteering the Youth center had few very interesting projects based on culture and environment so I was very happy to be part of the project and to help with events and activities. Actually it is not so easy to describe the 6 months volunteering in few words or maybe I have to call it ‚life‘not volunteering. Because I really felt like a real citizen of my lovely Klina.
Every morning the most delicious ‚kafe turke‘ made by coffee master Gjyle J who was also one of my best albanian teachers who had patience to listen my first albanian sentences with a lot of mistakes and helped me to go further, also was singing with me „O ska ma mir se ne Prishtin sa her un jam ktu sdu mu kthy, sdu mu kthy” J, long conversations with very careful and big-hearted person – a boss and a friend at the same time – Vitore J)) Our Dj, always funny, the person who is spreading the positive energy in the office  – Leon (Salad making, hahaha). Alberina – my Albanian teacher, my friend and soul person. I‘ve never met such a calm, wisdom and understanding person as you. The best lunch time with a beautiful Sano who always has a good sence of humor. (I don‘t forget what you promissed me), SHISHEMI J)) All the volunteers and Klina Youth Chapter, our picnics, trips by bikes and activities made together and a lot of amazing people I met during 6 months there.
I will never forget my children. I want to thank them a lot because they helped me to understand what I really want to do in my life.. They helped me to discover the passion for youth work. They were the first and the best children I worked with and I will remember this experience forever.
The workers of a small market who are waving hand every morning, Market day on Tuesdays with the eco and very cheap vegetables, hospitable local people, who are able to help you in every situation, new met people who became good friends, the best neigbours who never forget to ask „Oj Leva, Qysh je, a je mir?“, who plant flowers with you when you‘re feeling sad. The sincerity of local families, who always understand you, accept as a real family member and invite you for a big „Pite me spinaq“ every dinner.  The dog named Luji who is always waiting when you come back home J  the beautiful view around the town with gorgeous mountains and sunsets.
The volunteering in Klina gave me a lot of strengh as a personality and self confidence. It gave me an opportunity to meet amazing people, who stucked in my mind and heart. The opportunity to do work I love and to find a joyous moments in small achievments. The opportunity to know new very interesting culture with its traditions, language, dances, songs and very kind and hospitable people and to destroy a lot of stereotypes in my head. An opportunity to become more open-minded, patient and most importantly to understand others.
Hope to see you again, my beautiful Kosovo!
Me shumë dashuri nga Lituany J

Noemi DM Lledia, Spain

Proud. I think I could write only this word to describe my experience as a volunteer in Kosovo, more specific, in Youth Center Ardhmeria in Klina. Proud of a strong and sometimes forgotten country, proud of a small city like Klina, proud of all the team who works for a better youth center, proud of every young people and every child who appeared, although it was only a second, to the center. Proud of everybody who cooperated, participated and made bigger the youth center. Proud of myself, for feel every moment and give all of me to them and to the center during six months, and make everything as good as I could. Proud of all the memories that remains in my mind and I won’t forget. Proud of a community, a culture and a team that taught me a lot, also about myself. Proud of a youth center that requires more strength, confidence and desire, of everyone who don’t know what they really do. Proud of every volunteer who is brave enough to discover something as special as was this center for me. Proud. Simply proud.

Astrit Sahiti, Kosovo

Recently, I was a EVS volunteer for a project in Poland, for a two months (February – March) in a gender project. As for my EVS participation for the project “Closer to Equality” at “Kobiety.lodz.pl, in Poland, I was very happy to be part of it.It was very interesting and util time. I really enjoyed working will the hosting organization staff with other volunteers, I had fun in Poland and I really advanced my professional practice in Marketing and Promotion.
    Actually, regarding to our project, I had to collaborate and assist the group in organizing and promoting a second Women Congress in Lodz. Poland. In addition on the on these project we had several other activities and events, by which we wanted to draw attention for a certain issues.like “One Billion Rising” dancing performance against violence to women on Valentine’s Day. Then, each one of us had to make a our own task/activity related to the project. Personally, I took over a presentation about European Voluntary Services – EVS which was held at Niebostant place in Lodz, it had a good audience and was received very good with high interest.  Most of all, we had to prepare promotional material as brochures, pamphlets and videos for our activities and in order to promote our International Panel “European Woman” during the Women Congress when each of us could present a famous and successful woman story from our own countries.
Apart our works we were provided several workshops by the host organization and its partners, like Prxter University regarding to the task that we had to do, respectively, sessions regarding to marketing and strategies for appropriate promotion. They were indeed good workshops for gaining new knowledge and experience in designing brochures, leaflets, technical consulting in video production and so on. Generally, it was definitely worthy and I feel good with time there, with my contribution that I could give for the project and I believe I’ll use the experience taken there for the good of community.”

Hélène, France

When I have decided to do an EVS, I knew I wanted to go to the Balkans, a region I knew nothing about. Good luck, I was accepted in the youth center Ardhmeria, of Klina ! During six months, one autumn and one winter, I responded to tenders for project proposals and I taugh french to young people of Klina.  And this experience was most intensive and life changing to me. I have been working before but for the first time of my life, I felt useful.  With the Youth Center working team, I have learned how to write project proposals, and in the meantime this gave me the chance to discover some sides of Kosovo (youth unemployment, or environmental issues). My students were so full of energy it was sometimes hard to catch up! But it was so much fun to prepare and give the french classes, they gave me a lot of joy and taught me at least as much as I did. After this experience, I feel more confident for my future, and I have more new ideas than ever.
In our home country, we are cough up in our day to day life, and we forget that there are other people out there, living different lives, thinking differently sometimes but to whom it is possible to relate so much. When you arrive in a place where you have never been before, everything is blury at the beginning: new faces, new streets, new way to say hello. You follow, you observe, looking for your place in this new environment. But step by step, you start to remember names, to know where to find the best trileqe in town and how the bus system works (a challenge!). And then start your integration. I will never forget how people welcomed me in Klina. I could not expect this warmness, the hospitality and great sense of humor that allowed to me to become part of the community. With the people I met, my neighbors, my friends and teacher, my mentor, Vitore and Gjyla at the youth center and many others I could discover the fascinating albanian culture I knew nothing about. This EVS in Klina was not just a sporadic experience. It changed me positively and I met people that will remain in my heart. Now everywhere I will go, I will be the ambassador of this country I love so much!
Balkans, ex Yugoslavian, Kosovo, Serbia, war, music, all this world were mixed in my head like a ball of whool after a cat fight.
When I have decided to do an EVS, I knew this is the region where I wanted to go. Lucky me I was accepted in the youth center Ardhmeria, of Klina. During six months, I was teaching French and responding at tender for project proposal with the working team of the Youth Center.  I have been working before but for the first time of my life, I felt useful. When we were writing the project proposal, I could discover Kosovo reality in a theoretical way, thinking of project design on unemployment,  or environment.  Klina young people coming for my classes were so dynamic, full of energy and most of all very funny it was hard to catch up sometimes but they brought me so much joy !
I had so much fun teaching French to some of Klina’s young people! They were so full of energy it was hard to catch.
Two seasons, an autumn and a winter in Klina, will remain as one of the most intense and life changing experience for me.  I knew nothing about the country and I could discover with the warm and welcoming inhabitants of Klina the albanian culture I knew so little about. Language lessons with my Albanian teacher and friends
Every people I met, every experience I had tough me a lot about albanian culture, about the people of Europe, and about myself.
Participating in the center’s daily activities discovering people I was never in touch with
Building friendship with people I could never get in touch with such as nuns for the Catholic Church, which was a enlightmentmore that what I could say.
Every chat was adding something more to my life.
Two seasons in Klina, an autumn and a summer, for the greatest time of my life.
Yugoslavia, the Balkans, Kosovo, war, Kosovo, EVS, Kosovo, Klina, Kosovo, friendship, Kosovo, happiness.

Melanie Weise, Germany

For six months I worked as an EVS volunteer in Klina’s youth center. I organized leisure time activities for children and youngsters of different ages such as creative working, ping-pong tournaments, movie evenings, recycling workshops, a treasure hunt, a candle night and an African Day. But the task from which I learned the most for my personal future was the course of German language that I hold as I want to work as a German teacher for foreigners one day. It’s not easy to leave your own culture for a new one. But maybe it’s even more difficult to come back to your own one. EVS is not about learning how to say ‘Hello’ and ‘Thank you’ in as many languages as possible. It is not about trying every national dish. It is also not about pointing your finger on the global map and saying: “I have been there.” It is not coming, seeing and going again. It is more about growing, listening and understanding. Trying to understand. And this can be in-depth. Because it might be yourself that you learn to understand the most. It was not always easy and I lost a lot of carelessness during my EVS. Nevertheless I am glad that I got to know Kosovo and its Albanian population the way how they are: better than their reputation in Europe. I already miss a lot: the warmth of the families, the calls to prayer of the muezzin five times a day, the spontaneous talks on the streets and invitations for coffee, the jokes about corruption and the image of Albanians in the world. And of course those people that got important to me.
 

Chiara Busseto, Italy

My experience as volunteer in the Youth center Ardhmeria in Klina has been unforgettable. I had the opportunity to organize and support activities for young people, like two English courses aimed to different ages and trainings about volunteering, but also to talk and grow with them.
At the same time thanks to the warm of the whole city I discovered Albanian people and their amazing courtesy (and curiosity!!!). I could read always optimism in the people’s eyes.
The on-arrival training in Sarajevo and the mid-term training in Belgrade have been a good opportunity to talk and build a network with all the other volunteers in the Balkans, to exchange experiences, good and also bad feelings.
For these reasons it has been difficult to leave Klina, Kosovo and the Balkans, because being EVS means also travel a lot and meet different and extraordinary people every day.
I think every boy and girl should have the opportunity to move abroad as volunteer, to live, not only close, but inside a different culture.

I wish to everyone to live an incredible experience like mine.

Gaetano Nardone, Italy

Gaetano Nardone, 29 from Italy I am Gaetano, 29 years old and I did my EVS experience in Kosovo (Kline). It was my first time in Kosovo but I already did another experience in Balkans so I was really enthusiastic to do another one overthere. My project’s title was “Embracing our future” focused on work with youth in Youth Center Ardhmeria where my main tasks were to organize and manage Italian language course and support the activities of the Youth Center.I think that to be volunteer is a positive experience in general and doing EVS was for me very important to understand what I want to be and to do in my life. To be EVS volunteer is a valuable thing and that’s because it create a sense of solidarity across Europe which is exactly what Europe needs, especially Balkans, in order to build better people in a better Europe union.Related to my personal impressions, in particular inside the country, I had a great time with all the people there, especially volunteers and all the friends that I met in 6 months project but I think that the little things are the best moments of my project such as the moment shared with my housemate, the endless conversion did with people met, the kindness of neighbours and so on…At the end I recommend everyone to do this experience, especially in Balkans where discover cultures and traditions so close and so beautiful to learn and to live.
Want to have your own story?
Join these and thousands more in an adventure of a lifetime.  Apply today for the European Volunteer Service program and let us help you have a story like theirs'.
Apply Here!