„YMCA Europe is a working fellowship to strengthen movements where people grow in body, mind and spirit.“

YMCA EVS in Bournemouth UK

9th January 2017

Is already 4 months since I’m an EVS volunteer in UK. After 8 years of volunteering work for YMCA in Romania, I came to UK, the place where YMCA movement started.

My project is called "Reaching disadvantaged members of the Bournemouth community" and it last until September 2017. In this time I help YMCA Bournemouth in the marketing department. It started little by little with events like a Christian Concert, a youth exchange, a running marathon, a theatre play about the history of YMCA, a Quiz competition, a football campaign against racism, few Christmas Carols events, a Christmas "mini" market all of this meant to raise money for different projects of the organization. Meanwhile I improved my knowledge about how to do a proper press release, how to use different social media networks in order to promote the organization, how to design promotional materials according to new YMCA branding and a lot of other nice things.

The biggest event that I will have to prepare is the next "Sleep Easy", a YMCA fundraising initiative that raises money to help change the lives of vulnerable young people. Practically people will spend a night sleeping rough to raise money in order to combat homelessness in their community. So yes, I will sleep outside in March in a very creative shelter and I will try to convince as many people as possible to do it.

Ok, I think is enough about work, I still have a life outside of it. And yes, most of the weekends outside of work are full of parties, a lot of nice and quiet birthday parties in "our accommodation"- which is a student accommodation, but some parties end outside in the Latin clubs of Bournemouth. Latin because in this city are more Latin people than English, at least the ones that like to party in the weekends. English people on the other hand, like to go out every night, they don't party well, but they do it often..

And because for us (me and the other EVS from the project) is not everything about party, we TRY to travel and enjoy the beauty of England. This country seems to be really nice and is not raining as much as people say, at least not in our city. "Sunny Bournemouth" is the best in summer (we are looking forward to check it). It has the best sandy beach from UK and is in top 4 from Europe. It is also full of gardens with amazing vegetation and a lot of events happening there. In the autumn it was full of artistic events, in the winter it surprised me with ice skating, a cozy Christmas market and a big wheel (that I call Bournemouth's Eye), and now I'm waiting for more unexpected amusements.

It says that people in UK are cold persons, but is not totally true. I think that they are quite friendly and they like to talk a lot, especially about themselves and if you are a good listener you can become friends. I've been through a lot of "intercultural shock" lately and I find a lot of things very stupid here, but I think it happens all the time when you go into a new culture.

I think you had enough for now. I will continue my story soon, with more details about the life in UK from an EVS perspective. Thank you for reading!

Author/Source: Andreea Lazar, YMCA Romania