I had visitors in Brussels during one weekend, from Denmark, Germany and Netherlands. Three good friends who I met four years ago when doing my European Voluntary Service (EVS) in Romania. There is maybe nothing too much special to have friends over but there is something special to have the feeling that it is very much common to have such meetings somewhere in Europe. Simply it's thanks to EVS.
It was not the first time after Romania when some of us met somewhere in Europe. And when walking down the street we had the thought that in a way we got a grip on Europe – it's very much normal that people from our EVS group are still in touch and visit each other. Someone you haven't seen for three years can pop up tomorrow.
We discussed the issue.
Some people can criticize EVS as a waste of money and that it is available only to those who are more active. And that youngsters doing voluntary service actually don't do too much. And it's only international drinking or even worse – international hangover. It can all be true but this will not take away the fact that people create and enlarge their network during these happy days.
So that's the thing – besides giving you the opportunity to do voluntary work, travel and party EVS provides you with something for the future. You can be 35 and work for the bank but you still have people here and there over the Europe. So instead to have resort holidays you can check on the map where your contacts are and meet them. They obviously know more about the local culture then your guide book.
Based on EVS I can declare that I have contacts both in Europe and in the neighborhood. So Istanbul will not be plain sightseeing because a friend appears and shows you around. He will tell you details about the society and its directions. Or you can even have a dinner with a local family somewhere on an island in UK. With gravy.
I know our parents traveled as well. To Paris or to Moscow. It was the joy of travelling and seeing the world. We very often just go to see our friends. Destination can be secondary.