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The EVS Volunteers of the Sea Turtle Rescue Center

ARCHELON hosts around 500 volunteers from all over the world each year. They live a communal life, they share all the tasks and have the chance to interact together. This is amazing to see how different cultures and backgrounds can live together, work having one target and the same goal. A lot of life friendships or even relationships have occurred during those years. The volunteers get an experience of a life time.

ARCHELON also hosts EVS volunteers who are our long term volunteers. This European programme gives the chance to volunteers to stay for long period while at the same time covers their main expenses, so it gives the opportunity for a longer participation. It also gives them a unique chance to learn the Greek language. Many of them when they go back to their country they miss so much their lifetime in ARCHELON that they come back as regular volunteers.

At the moment we host 4 volunteers at the Sea Turtle Rescue Center. We asked them to answer some questions about the EVS project and what they feel so far about their stay in ARCHELON. We would like to share with you their answers.

Jérémy SAADAOUI, France, 24 years old

Why did you want to participate in EVS?
When I was looking for an international volunteering program, one of my friends told to me about the EVS Program. After visiting different sending organizations, I had a good feeling with one of them. They explained me the objective of intercultural exchanges and some others values that Iʼm sharing. A part of my choice was to meet some people from the whole of Europe, and EVS is perfect for this.

Why ARCHELON and why sea turtles?
I always had some admiration for sea turtles, their behavior, their story and their age! They are much older than us!! Then, the country was a part of my choice. Greece, especially Athens is full of history, museum and general cultural events, and of course the mythology! I had two different interviews with ARCHELON before coming and they explained me the topic of the organization and I said “Pame”.

How is your experience up to now?
This travel is a cultural, linguistic, relational and professional experience. I arrived the 1st of august 2011, so I started to be familiar with the Greek mentality, and the Greek lessons are very useful. At the beginning of the mission, there were only people from UK, so it was a little bit difficult for me to speak in English, but now, Iʼm feeling awesome because we can all understand each other! I already met so many different people and itʼs every time a discovery! Working in the Rescue Centre, I discovered the negative human impact and how we can limit this impact.

Malin Kvarnlof, Swedish, 21 years old

Why did you want to participate in EVS?
After working for two years, I wanted to do something completely different. And Iʼve always being interesting in becoming a volunteer, and EVS sounded like a good choice for me. I think this is a really good experience for me, living in a whole new country for six months and taking care of myself. I also think that this would look good on my C.V. for my future work.

Why ARCHELON and why sea turtles?
From the beginning I wanted to work with children, because I really enjoy that but my organization back in Sweden told me about ARCHELON and the sea turtles. And they told me that ARCHELON needed one more volunteer for 6 months. So I said yes, I thought it would be fun to do something that youʼre not used to at all.

How is your experience up to now?
It has been good so far, the work is a huge difference from what Iʼm used to. Iʼve learned a lot more about sea turtles, and how we can help and protect them. But I think you need to have some sort of interest in animals or sea turtles in particular, because I donʼt think this work is something for me.

Merle Ucker, German, 19 years old

Why did you want to participate in EVS?
I wanted to participate because the EVS program is an extraordinary chance for young people to explore the world and work for a good cause without having rich parents. And after the depressing atmosphere at school, I wanted to gain some inspiring and motivating experiences for my life.

My sending organization proposed me ARCHELON and the project, after my first Greek project was blocked by the National Agency because of volunteerʼs complains. Since the project description appealed to me I wrote an application. Also Greece and especially Athens with the impressing ancient cultural background and the exceptional current situation appeared attractive to me as well the opportunity to learn Greek.

Why sea turtles?
Iʼve always been interested in maritime species and since I was a little child I wanted to become a maritime biologist. Moreover sea turtles are mysterious animals and itʼs a pity that they are close to extinction.

How is your experience up to now?
Both the rehabilitation work with the turtles and the unusual living conditions in the train wagons are impressing and important experiences. I love being around with people from all over Europe and having the sea nearby. Altogether Iʼm glad that I got the chance of helping to protect the sea turtles.


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