In July 2018 I finished my studies, at last. A hot summer, full of things to do was waiting for me. And then, what? I’ve always wanted to do a volunteering project in other parts of the world: the time was now or never. I’ve always wanted to experience new realities, truly understanding their features and helping with my skills and knowledge. So, I started a long search through thousands of websites showing projects, objectives, ways of seeing the world, problems, and I discovered millions of candidates like me with opinions, experiences and expectations. At the end of this long search, I finally found the European Voluntary Service (EVS) and, in this framework, the project that I though was the best option for me. But would it be what I was expecting?
I was searching for a new country, a new language, a new city, new people and learning non stop. Learning how to help, how to make a better world looking with a smile to other people. That’s why I chose Connection project. This project is about working with children, teenagers and women, trying to build new opportunities for them in a city full of contrasts like Palermo. I work with children and teenagers who aren’t even aware of your help but they thank you for every effort in their own way. Furthermore, the work with them will last for a long time, because they are the future and maybe later they will help others. For sure they will always remember what you teach them. And not only them, but also their families thank you.
As well, the work with the women is incredible. The activities are really easy but have an important impact on their mood and their self-awareness. All the professionals in the centres are very helpful, always trying to make you comfortable, making sure that you understand everything and letting you know that you’re not alone at work.
In this month that I’ve been working, I’ve learnt how to play and educate at the same time, take care of others, breathe ten times when the children misbehave, understand other realities, improve my emotional intelligence, always have a tissue to clean boogers and drools, how to be more assertive, live with people really different from me, laugh and move my head when I don’t understand anything people tell me, to be more independent, a little bit of a new language, realize that sometimes just to be there is enough to help… Now I have new friends: with some of them I talk easily, with others it’s harder to communicate. But it’s just because I live in a really different city from mine, whose chaos I’ve learnt to appreciate.
And most important: I still have a lot of things to learn by the end of my experience here.
So, for everyone who wants to live a new and unforgettable experience, who wants to help, make a better world, learn a lot of new things and have fun… Volunteering is the best choice. Good luck!