Launched under a year ago by the European Union, The European Solidarity Corps is the newest project to get young people out of their comfort zones and out changing the world. With already over 23,000 young people between the ages of 18-30 participating, European Solidarity Corps provides opportunities for Europeans to work or volunteer abroad. Each placement is geared to help both the participant and the people they meet understand the importance of global solidarity. It is all about adapting to other opinions and cultures, while promoting human rights.
Young people who want to apply must be open-minded. All of the jobs will require engaging in pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, and equality. Additionally, they must be creative because it is encouraged to develop meaningful ways to change society while respecting the culture they are in. Some project examples include: helping to rebuild a school or community centre, supporting newly arrive asylum seekers, clearing vegetation to prevent wildfires, or working with disabled people in a community centre.
There are two ways that a young person can get involved with the European Solidarity Corps: volunteering or occupational activities.
If one were to opt to volunteer they would have a permanent location for anywhere between 2 and 12 months. This sector is closely related to Erasmus+, so it is common to get funding from the EU to keep up with expenses. Because the work they will be doing is unpaid, volunteers receiving money for travel, accommodation, insurance, meals, and a small amount for living expenses.
Those who opt to obtain a job and participate in the occupational activities sector will be paid a living wage. A contract will be drafted between him or her and the company they are placed in. Their pay will be in respect to the national wage laws of the given country. However, they will have to use the money to pay for their day-to-day living and accommodation, as Erasmus+ would not provide as much funding.
The European Solidarity Corps is another great way for young people to make a difference in the world. EuroDesk, through their Time To Move campaign, is spending the entire month of October to promote ways for young people to travel abroad. Young people bring a fresh and motivated outlook to new places, so they are widely desired in companies and organisations worldwide. Some of the most important lessons are learned while working or volunteering abroad. With so many opportunities to do so, there is no reason why every young person should not go experience it!
Allison Philips is the Youth Projects Intern for IARS International Institute