Dear future EVS volunteer(s) to the Canary Islands,
As I write this in my final week here, I struggle to remember all the necessary things I should tell you in advance. You might be, at this very moment, thinking of volunteering or maybe the thought has not crossed your mind yet. But if you decide eventually to volunteer in the Canary Islands, please take the time to read this. I write this to you, so that you will be able to settle quite nicely into the Canarian culture, but also be spontaneous enough to discover for yourself the beauty of the islands.
When you get to the airport in Tenerife, your mentor and (if you’re lucky like me) the coordinator will be there to greet you. Be prepared to be kissed on both cheeks. It is ok to tell them if you are not comfortable with this type of greeting. But it is good to try
Try to learn some Spanish before you fly out of your country. Many might tell you that no one speaks English. That is half of the truth. While, most do not speak English, it is possible to find someone at the airport that understands English, so it won’t be that crazy. But it is good to start learning.
You will most probably be staying in La Laguna. La Laguna weather is spontaneous. It might be cold and it might be warm. Bring a mixture of clothes, for both the warm and cold weather.
Learn to save and budget wisely. While the allowance you will receive may seem much, it only enough to cover your accommodation, bills and other expenses. So spend wisely.
If you ever get feel sick, CIGNA insurance is good. Tell your mentor and coordinator and communicate with CIGNA as soon as possible as the process might take time depending on your condition.
If you ever have problems, be it simple or complicated; feel free to express it to your mentor and coordinator. Everything that affects you from when you start your EVS to the end should be conveyed to them always.
Life is a journey. One moment you’re up on the mountains and the next in a valley. The EVS experience is similar. Sometimes things will not work out as expected. It might get worse. Be optimistic! The sun always shines after the rain.
Do EVS with a positive attitude. You can learn from the simplest things. Learn as much as you can, but don’t forget to share and teach too.
Last, but not the least, be open-minded to culure, people and tasks. Challenge yourself. Set your goals and work to fulfill them. Make friends. Involve in activities.
I wish you all the best in your EVS experience and project. And I hope you will fall in love with the Canary Islands as I have.