Project:Women are from Venus and men are from Mars?
Sending organization: YMCA ROmania
EVS service:15/10/2014 – 15/07/2015

“Some say that EVS is about life-changing experiences. Well, in my case I think this is close to the truth. My adventure started in October, last year. After finishing my studies I started to work in a multi-national company doing completely new things and trying to adapt myself to the new environment. It lasted for two years and a half. But I always knew that there is something more to discover and to be honest, I always wanted a gap year, in order to focus on my life.
So here my EVS story starts. I applied for several projects and finally I found a great one: “Are women from Venus and Men from Mars?” Yep, this is the name of my project. It took a while to receive the final result, but finally I was accepted. Now I live in Łódź, in the heart of Poland. I share my daily tasks and creativity with Samuel, my volunteer colleague from Spain and our coordinators and friends: Kasia D., Kasia S and Krysia. Basically, what we are working with international youth projects, coordinating more than twenty volunteers working in kindergartens, art centers, after-schools etc.

In November, together with Samuel we decided that we need a tool to create an international network in the city, so we created Aliens in Lodz. This is our personal project and through it we aim to create a link between international and local people. We organize events adapted to English speaker. In fact, maybe is better to have a look here and here, in order to understand better our work: andŁódź

I was telling you that EVS is kind of a life-changing experience for me, because it is. It wasn’t that easy though. I started to travel seven years ago and through the time I interacted with different people and cultures, I even lived in Italy for five month, during my Erasmus. So I would call myself an open person. But it happened something strange to me, while coming to Poland. I blocked. It was really difficult to express myself, or at least in my head it was an enormous effort. Maybe it was acculturation, maybe I was just too tired of my previous life or maybe it was depression. The good thing is that it passed now. Not all of a sudden, but it passed. People around me helped a lot, my family was also supporting, although they couldn’t really understand what was wrong. I don’t exactly know either.
Anyway, the point I want to make is this one: I realized that life is short, so you have to get out of your box, put yourself in new situations, even if it’s hard sometimes. Confront your ego with what really matters in life: love, empathy and happiness.

I know that my story is not even close to an end, this is just the beginning: a new beginning with no regrets of the past, a new beginning with hope. And if I have to give you an advice, I would tell you to wander, because not all of those who wander are lost.

Any questions or doubts about EVS? Please feel free to write me:”.

Maria-Catalina Trandafir


Wroclaw with my colleague and our Couchsurfing host

With my sister in London

Warsaw - equality street art message

Smart message in Krakow

Museum of musical instruments - Poznan (Kings' Mihai  violin)

Bruxelles - Magritte museum

Berlin Wall




8th of March manifestation Lodz