Let’s start with the basics, what is European Voluntary Service Program (EVS) and how did you decide to embark on this experience?
European Voluntary Service is a program which enables young Europeans aged 18 to 30 years to live up to 12 months in another country working in a non-profit or social business organization. It is a program especially designed for those who want to travel, live in a different culture, learn a language and get a priceless international work experience. After finishing my studies, I traveled a bit and after spending a few months in the US, I decided to relocate to a different country for at least some time and EVS seemed like a perfect combination of everything.
Why did you decide to do your EVS at Impact Hub Vienna and what were your tasks as a volunteer?
I knew about Impact Hub from Bratislava but I was never part of it before. After seeing the opportunity, I was immediately impressed by how vibrant the community seems to be and being part of this platform looked like a great way how to broaden my own horizons. I was part of the Community & Membership team where we would facilitate the connections between members and create a platform where impact could emerge. It would include not only organizing great events such as the WineDowns, Skillshare Breakfasts, but also working with all sorts of online platforms and trying to boost our community of 500+ members both on- and offline.
If a start-up founder asks you “Why should we take EVS volunteers?”, what would be your answer?
Firstly, you not only get the chance to have a motivated and young volunteer who can support your team but also you give them the chance to show their potential and contribute to your activities. Also, by accepting an EVS volunteer, you are opening your doors to a different culture, world views & lifestyle which can be especially stimulating for your team.
Looking back at the last year, what was your personal highlight of your European Voluntary Service?
By being surrounded by such a diverse community and seeing amazing things happening right in front of you, one starts to believe that nothing is impossible. Thanks to being part of Impact Hub and EVS, I was able to dissolve all the mental blocks and fears I unconsciously built within myself in those 25 years of life and started focusing on what is really important for me. Also, coming to a new city without knowing anyone is a huge challenge that can be really scary. However, looking back, I realized how many beautiful connections I have made and I am happy to leave with the feeling that I have a place I can always come back to.
How has your knowledge and understanding of (social) entrepreneurship & the impact of start-ups evolved?
I had very little knowledge about social entrepreneurship and the startup scene when I started. Now, I am absolutely sure about the importance of impact startups in the current world where we are standing in front of some of the most complex problems. I see them as unique tools which have the power to start the transformation process on so many levels.
How do you plan to use your experience of the EVS to solve societal challenges back in Slovakia or around Europe? Do you want to start any projects/ enterprises of your own?
I realized I can never go back to anything other than an “impactful” job. Currently, I am preparing myself for my next journey which is in the area of international development. Europe, Asia or Africa.. I am absolutely unsure about where exactly it takes me but that just adds the flavor to it.
How would you finish the sentence “For me Impact is…”
.. when you forget about your own needs and desires and focus on what the world needs.