Europe and the EU

How I found EVS Vacancies – A Year in Europe All Expenses Paid? Here’s How!

* OK, for this to work this free year in Europe to work you’ll need to be living in certain countries, and under 30. All good? Keep reading!

Love the idea of getting involved and seeing Europe, but can’t manage a year’s commitment? Scroll down for details of short term funded trips for weekend youth seminars and other events.

A few summers ago I rocked up in a tiny town on the border between the Czech Republic (in central Europe) and Poland. Myself and a band of EU volunteers spent the year working with local charity projects in areas like languages, art, dance and sport – not to mention downing enough hot chocolate to destroy our teeth.

What is Erasmus Plus and European Voluntary Service (EVS)?

Erasmus Plus is a big name for all of the European Union’s training, education and work placement opportunities.

EVS European Voluntary Service is a youth programme they offer. It’s so much better than those pricey work experience abroad agancies that run for profit.

Basically anyone aged 17-30 living in certain countries in Europe and near Europe can spend between 2 weeks and 12 months living and working in Europe.

Best of all, while they are on the programme they will receive:

  • Free accommodation and meals
  • Free transport
  • A small living wage to cover expenses
  • Free language classes
  • A once in a lifetime opportunity to live in another country

Which countries can take part in EU volunteering?

I thought you might ask that, so I’ve provided a handy, pinnable visual guide.

Infographic showing which countries can take poart in European Voluntary Service

How do I find EVS vacancies?

Great EU placements are actually surprisingly easy to find. Most short and long term EVS opportunities are posted on Facebook in the Vacancies Group and Youth in Action Group.

There’s also a database of long term EVS opportunities, with all the current project details, but you should expect that to be less frequently updated. Just browse for an opportunity that excites you, fill in the form and send it to the contact details provided.

EVS volunteering with kids in a youth centre

 What is an EVS experience like?

It’s a lot like being a student – you are constantly learning and the work is sociable and fun unlike a typical office setting. You are giving back and working with great causes, so that really helps.

I made incredible friends, particularly during two one-week training camps that are required on the placement. You attend two residential short training sessions that are deliberately located in rural areas, so you’re guaranteed to get to know all the other international volunteers very well! You’ll train with other funded volunteers from across Europe and form great bonds.

Life in the Czech Republic looked a little something like this….

Team of volunteers who filled EVS vacancies in Eastern Europe

I spent a year working with children at a youth centre and was technically deemed a paid EU volunteer, but the role was better than many paid jobs I’ve had!

Every week I had a round of classes where I taught English to kids or adults, admin and PA duties for the host organisation, event planning and prep for the youth centre and also 2 hours of lessons in Czech.

My pay was around 230 euros per month, which was purely for buying food and having fun.

Like anyone else on the programme, I was rewarded for my volunteering with a monthly spending allowance, free accommodation with other young people and free transport, plus intensive lessons in the local language.


How exactly does the process of applying for EVS vacancies work?

To take part, you need a sending organisation  which preps for departure in your home country and a host organisation which welcomes you in your new country and gives you both accommodation and work.

The easiest way is to apply straight to your host first, and get yourself accepted for an EVS placement . Once that is done it’s easy to find a sending organisation who will accept you in your country. It doesn’t need to be near your home town as you can do all of the paperwork by email. I used the Concordia Organisation in Brighton, and so did my friend from Glasgow!

Overall it’s likely to be ->filling in the application -> Skype interview with the host ->acceptance!->

filling in more forms -> pre-departure training -> your flights are booked and off you go!

EVS vacancies are just like job vacancies, and some can have a lot of applicants. But those that are in colder countries, or which require special skills are much less difficult.

I applied for 5 vacancies and was offered one post, so that isn’t bad odds!

Snow in the Czech Republic during my EVS experience

Working at the youth centre was the type of experience money couldn’t buy. We were treated well and had the chance to learn new skills and leave with a Youth Pass Certificate- a useful reference that lists what you achieved and may also help you find work afterwards.

Participants also get free language classes, so I’m proud to say I can carry a halting conversation about the weather in Czech, these days.

Ready for your own free year in Europe? Sign up for the European Voluntary Service, as part of the Erasmus+ programme!

Questions? You know where to drop them! Hint: the comments box.

Children and EVS volunteers on a project in the Czech Republic

Looking for short term EU volunteering opportunities?

The EU project Erasmus+ (previously called Youth in Action) still runs short term projects called youth exchanges which fund young people to go and join a short youth project, event or cultural exchange in another country for 5 to 21 days.

The EU will cover all expenses and you’ll have the chance to learn, develop incredible skills and get to know another country while attending a youth seminar or event.

In summer, there are constant sessions in Madid, Paris, Sofia, Helsinki and so many other stunning locations.

Take a dive into the Erasmus+ Opportunities database to find something that interests you.

How I spent a year living and working in Europe through European Voluntary Service

Pinning saves lives, son, you know what to do!




  1. 10 Bucket List Faves You Must Tick-Off This Year! – LIVE IN 10 COUNTRIES

    June 13, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    […] a team of international volunteers spending  a year in a team close to the Polish border. Click here for how you could join the […]

  2. Flo

    August 18, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    What a great initiative! This is what I call a win-win, must have been an amazing experience!

  3. Candy W

    August 18, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    This is such a wonderful way to travel for free. Looking at the photos, it looks like you had a wonderful fun time volunteering in Europe.

  4. Alina Popescu

    August 18, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    That sounds like an amazing experience for those who qualify. Helping out children and traveling through Europe is a great combo.

  5. Marissa @ Darling Escapes

    August 18, 2016 at 11:21 pm

    Such a great way to see Europe and make a difference! Loving this! Might actually pass it along to my sister.

  6. Ally

    August 19, 2016 at 1:56 am

    Really cool way to travel Europe — I’m not from Europe so I can’t personally do this, but know people/have readers that may be interested….will pass this along to them 🙂 thanks!

  7. valerie hansen

    August 19, 2016 at 2:26 am

    Wow what an amazing experience..well I am not European so that counts me out..bummer! Great post!


  8. Roota

    August 19, 2016 at 3:39 am

    Wish it was for Indians too 🙁

  9. Christie @

    August 19, 2016 at 4:58 am

    SO cool!! Minus the first line that I’d need to be a European citizen because I’m not 🙁 🙁

  10. Lori

    August 19, 2016 at 8:07 am

    What an inspirational story! It looks like you’ve made memories to last a lifetime – and had a great time! And working with children is always amazing!

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  12. Alouise

    September 15, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    I’m a little over the age limit of 30, but this sounds like a really cool experience for people who can do it. If I’d known about this a few years ago I would have definitely applied for a spot.

  13. Danielle

    September 23, 2017 at 10:55 am

    Great post! Volunteering really is so rewarding and is also a great way to be able to travel cheaply and see the world! Thankyou for sharing.

  14. Char xo

    September 23, 2017 at 11:09 pm

    This looks like SUCH an amazing experience, a great way to travel so affordably and make loads of friends! I wish I knew about it sooner (nearing 30 day by day!).

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