Have you ever thought about volunteering, and exploring Europe? If so the European Solidarity Corps (ESC) programme is for you!
European Solidarity Corps
The ESC is an EU funded programme. Once you are accepted onto a ESC project, all your expenses (rent, food, transport, insurance, visa procedures, language classes) are covered by the project, and you even get a bit of pocket money to enjoy your experience fully! Your travel costs are also covered although there may be a minimal contribution towards travel required.
Who can apply?
The minimum age to participate in a Solidarity project is 18. Young people can register if they are legally resident in the EU or in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Turkey or the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, or if they hold the nationality of these countries.
Where can I go?
Anywhere in the EU as well as many countries bordering the EU e.g. Armenia, Norway, Serbia. (In fact it is possible to do ESC in many places in the world but these further-afield projects involve a more complicated application process).
How do I apply?
- Register with the European Solidarity Corps
- Create a profile – take some time to fill in the personal information on your profile, and to attach an updated CV. Take good care of it, it is your way of being interesting for the receiving organizations! We can always help you with this!
- Search the ESC database – all of the ESC vacancies/ opportunities are listed there.
- Find a Sending Organisation here in Ireland – your Youth Information Centre (us!) can help you with this.
- Contact the Overseas Organisation (host) – Your sending organisation will help you with this!
- Send your CV and a motivational letter (about half a page) describing why you want to do ESC with this organisation. Remember, ESC is not about the qualifications you have or how much work experience you have. Projects are looking for volunteers who are motivated, willing and enthusiastic, who will make a good fit with their organisation.
- Plan & prepare: It can take from 2 – 6 months in total to plan an ESC project. Your sending organisation is there to explain everything to you and support you throughout the process. Your sending organisation will carry out some pre-depature training with you. The content will depend on you! ……..So Get Started Early & Get Focused!!!!
Types of project:
Projects can range from 2 – 12months. However, it’s also worth noting that under special circumstances an EVS duration can be less than 2 months.
The ESC projects are visible on the European Youth Portal. To apply to projects anywhere, you need to create an account on the website. Please note that searching the different projects is easier once you are logged in.
The placements are widely varied in subject matter, but the majority are related to the environment, arts and culture, activities with children, young people or the elderly, heritage or sports and leisure activities. In recent years, there has been a large increase in projects that support refugees and asylum seekers. All the projects aim to benefit communities and people around Europe.
Tips searching for a project:
- Ask your sending organisation to help you find a project.
- The more flexible you are about where you’ll go and what you’ll do, the easier you’ll find a project.
- ESC projects fill up very quickly and the competition between places can be tight.
- Search the ESC database often and choose more projects to apply for until you secure a project.
- Think carefully about each project you choose.
Download our Volunteer in Europe publication