My name is Laura, I’ve just celebrated my 25th birthday, and I’m from La Laguna, Tenerife.
Until September my life was very normal: I finished high school, went to university, I studied a degree and a master’s degree and directly went to the list of unemployed. The “future” that I had not planned was already here and it caught me unawares … I was not sure if I would find work, didn’t know if I must to stay here or leave and try to find something in overseas… I decided to start presenting my CV in some (many) schools, academies, tutoring companies, etc… I thought if fate wanted me to stay in Tenerife, it would reward me with a good job, or at least with an acceptable one and related to what I studied. Weeks passed and I didn’t receive any response.
I was more and more anxious and disappointed and my wish to live out the islands and try out some adventures were increasing, when one day I was having a look on facebook and I saw something that took my attention: A photo, entitled as Isla Creactiva that was looking for young people between 18 and 30 years to go to other European islands as volunteers… Ok, cool! I’m from Tenerife, I’m 25 years old and lots of energy to be a volunteer! I read more carefully and saw that it was a project of the EVS and people from smaller islands would have priority in being selected, but what do I lose in trying?
Since I graduated, volunteering had always been in my mind, I had already been in contact with some associations and NGOs, but none of them were made to me. Most of the volunteer programs in Africa or Latin America ask many requirements and even a lot of money; however the European Volunteering was different. While I read the official website of EVS (European Voluntary Service) I learned that all that I needed to present my candidacy was to be resident in an EU country, between 18 and 30 years old and to have a basic level of English. They gave you 90% of the ticket price of plane, boat, train, whatever, to arrive to your destination, in addition to the accommodation they provide you the money for food and a small amount of “pocket money” for your extra expenses. In short, it was perfect for me.
I got on with my CV and a couple of lines expressing my interest in the Isla Creativa`s initiative. They automatically answered thanking my e-mail and sent me a questionnaire where I had to specify the reasons why I was interested in the project, why I wanted to go abroad and more specifically to a European island and why I would have to be selected.
I was one of the finalists of Tenerife that passed to the second phase, apparently Isla Creativa received huge number of requests from Gran Canaria and Tenerife and that´s why they decided to extend the course for one person more from each one of the islands.
I received an email with a brief description of the different projects of the future host islands (Lefka, Iceland, Madeira, Malta, Cyprus and Sicily). We had to choose one of them and write a motivation letter explaining why I was able to carry out it. In my case it was very easy, although the Madeira ISLAND was less attractive for me, the project to develop was perfect for me. It was about how to promotion campaigns of environmental awareness, visit local schools with talks and workshops, prepare information and material to raise awareness … And the thing is I had worked in exactly the same thing with an environmental education company! So I wrote a motivation letter almost as long as this post where I tried to “sell” my best. As soon I sent my letter I received an e-mail explaining that if I had been selected to pass the 3rd phase they would write me on the 17th of September and if not, it would be on the 18th or 19th.
The 17th came and I had no news from Island Shake. I felt quite disappointed when on the 18th I got the damned mail with the supposed rejection of my candidacy … Can you imagine my surprise when I start to read and see that instead of a negative they were telling me that I was the selected person from Tenerife? I was not going to Madeira, but Sicily and, instead of starting in April or May, would begin in February … but it was clear I was ready to go! I could not believe it! I was the selected one of Tenerife! I had the highest score of the participants in Tenerife, but the project of Madeira has being assigned to another guy.
I would be more than happy to collaborate in any project, but finally, I was designed to Sicily. Now I just had to fill out a short form and that’d be all! On THE 1ST OF February STARTS my European adventure. I didn’t even need to think for a second… I just rushed like crazy to give them my confirmation.
The project of Sicily was really different than the project of Madeira, but I also found it very interesting. In Sicily I’ll help in promoting volunteering opportunities for young people who live there, participate in training coordinators of work camps and exchanges leaders, I will attend the preparation of international volunteer projects … In short, I will learn a lot of things … So now let’s see how it goes … Wish me good luck!