The European Solidarity Corps (ESC) is an EU funding programme for young people wishing to engage in solidarity activities in a variety of areas. These range from helping the disadvantaged to humanitarian aid, as well as contributing to health and environmental action across the EU and beyond.
The programme offers an opportunity for young people not only to make a meaningful contribution to society, but also to gain invaluable experience and develop new skills. It is open to people aged between 18 and 31.
Volunteering provides young people with the opportunity to contribute to the daily work of organisations that specialise in solidarity activities to benefit communities. Most opportunities through the European Solidarity Corps are cross-border volunteering activities. These projects are excellent opportunity to help where needed, learn new skills, spend time abroad, maybe learn a language – and definitely come back with unforgettable memories.
What will you do as a volunteer?
With the wide range of issues covered by the projects (such as environment, health, inclusion, digital technologies, culture, sport), you’re sure to find something to match your interests and background. You can work with kids, youth, elderly; teach language or organize cultural or sport events; contribute to the work of a non-profit organization. Some projects are focusing on the integration of refugees and asylum-seekers, while others deal with nature protection in seaside or montain area.
You have the choice between volunteering individually and in teams:
can last from 2 months up to 12 months
is full-time (between 30 and 38 hours a week)
allows you to contribute to the daily work of an organisation that is actively benefiting the local community
in some cases, you can take part for a shorter time (from 2 weeks to 2 months)
If you can’t commit for a long period, but still want to help the community, then check out team volunteering, which:
can last between 2 weeks and 2 months
is full-time (between 30 and 38 hours a week)
you volunteer with people from at least 2 different countries
the group will be between 10 and 40 volunteers and include people with fewer opportunities
is usually abroad, though it can be in your home country
Good to know:
You can do only one ESC long-term volunteering (a project lasts 2-12 months), so consider your choice carefully! Good news that you can participate "unlimited" time in team volunteering projects till your 31th birthday :)
What is covered?
Travel cost to and from the project: generally, you buy your tickets, and the host reimburse your costs (up to a reasonable amount according to the program rules, based on the distance between your home and the host country)
You will get free accommodation (in the most cases you will live with other volunteers, accommodated in shared or single rooms)
Food: your host will take care of your food, or in the most cases they provide food money
Pocket money: you'll receive a small allowance for personal expenses (€3-6 a day, depending on the country)
Complementary health insurance (Cigna)
You can access a range of support services such as linguistic support and training
It is really free :) There is no participation fee or hidden costs :)
Activity hours: around 30-35 hrs / week, with weekly 2 days off + extra 2 days holiday for each month
How to find a volunteering project?
You can do only one ESC long-term volunteering (a project lasts 2-12 months), so choose consciously!
Finding a volunteering project is easy - there are numerous tools and platforms where hosting organizations promote the opportunities. But before jumping to the application process, it is good if you have at least a basic idea about your volunteering. Think about some questions, make lists, and try to find out what really excites you. How do you imagine yourself during your volunteering and after that?
Basics: when are available and how long? Which countries? City or village? Seaside or montain? Alone or with a few people or with a bigger group?
What topics interest you? Which area do you want to cover or gain new knowledge?
Is there any specific group you want to work with (e.g. kids)?
What is your motivation for volunteering? What goals do you want to achieve? What skills do you want to develop?
Do you want to have international experiences from your field, or try something totally different?
We advice you first look for the topics and activities what interests you and a sympathetic hosting organization, rather than the location of the project.
Register on the European Youh Portal ! Here you can search from the latest opportunities from all over Europe. Fill your profile carefully! Via this platform you can apply for the opportunities and organizations can also contact you.
Facebook: there are several Hungarian and international groups where organizations posting volunteer calls (keywords: European Solidarity Corps, ESC/EVS ...)
The application process varies from project to project. Generally you can apply with a CV and motivation letter (sometimes with a form, or video application). Be creative :)
After assessing your application, the hosting organization may invite you for an online video call to get to know you better and introduce the project. It it is a match, you will be selected, hip hip hurray :) Let's start with the preparation for the adventure with your supporting organization.
If you are struggling with any of this steps, you do not know how to write a CV and motivation letter, need some advice, contact us at email@example.com or fill our form, we are happy to assist you :)
Cannot you wait to be an ESC volunteer? Or do you need more information?
Join to the General Online Training: it is an open-access training, via the Solidarity Corps site, for all registered candidates and participants. Modules include “The mission of the European Solidarity Corps”, “Roles and responsibilities of participants”, “Inter-cultural awareness”, “Health and safety” and more.
Hungarian National Agency official ESC site: https://szolidaritasitestulet.hu/esc_fiataloknak - here you can also find short interviews with ex-volunteers
Search for ex-volunteers' stories, blogs, watch Youtube videos related to ESC. Talk with volunteers :)
Take a look at this nice brochure prepared by older volunteers: 100 advices for future volunteers
Discover our map on the right, about where past YBB volunteers spent their ESC. Where will be your pin?