Hi ragazzi, it is your favorite volunteer! Today we will have a very nice conversation with a Portuguese volunteer: Cristina. Yes, it seems that more and more we are becoming a global blog, which is great. Continuing talking about “life after EVS”, Cristina did the volunteering service in 2018 and in 2019 started Servico Civile. In order to understand what motivated her to come to Italy and to stay one more year, continue to read.
Carmen: Introduce yourself (name, age, where you come from)
Cristina: My name is Cristiana, I’m 23 years old and I’m from Portugal.
Carmen: Resume your EVS (organization, city, how long it was, activities you were doing)
Cristina: I developed my project in a cooperative called “Il Caminno” that belongs to a bigger association “Consorzio di Solidarietà Sociale di Forlì”. I moved myself to Forlì for 10 months to make an EVS project with disabled people. In that center, they have a garden where they plant and treat vegetables, flowers and aromatic herbs. With some of those products they make creams, nectars, Lavanda sacks, tisanes, and the other products, they sell directly. Initially, my goal was to help the group to treat the plants and after some time, I created thematic manual works with recycled materials and also a Music’s Laboratory (where we constructed musical instruments, play them and make psychomotricity activities with music).
Carmen: What was the good side and the bad side of going EVS, and the activities that you liked the most?
Cristina: The good side was full. Firstly the support I had from my organization all the time. Then the easiness to travel and to know new places. One thing special in EVS is the opportunity to go to the Arrival and Mid-Term Training, organized by the National Agency. I loved it! There I could know people from all over the world and be close to cultures so different from mine, amazing. In the good side is also the sense of freedom and responsibility, to feel useful to the others, the language courses of Italian and to try new food.
Some people say they miss home, family, friends, food, weather… I felt it a bit too, but I was comfortable with that feeling because I liked here, my space, my responsibilities, and autonomy. It was a very good period in my life, I felt truly happy so I don’t see anything to the bad side on my EVS.
Carmen: How the idea of continuing staying in Italy came?
Cristina: I was living very well, was happy here, I found love here so since I didn’t have any plans for my country, I decided to search for opportunities to stay. They came, so I stayed.
Carmen: What you are doing currently?
Cristina: After EVS, I made 5 months of Civil Service (Servizio Civile) in a kindergarten. Right now, I’m making an internship with people with disabilities, taking jazz piano lessons and still traveling sometimes.
Carmen: What is your perception about this opportunity?
Cristina: I think it’s a precious opportunity, and actually I would like to do it more than just once in life! (Un)Fortunately, each person can do it just one time and it’s easier especially for European citizens. Everyone from 18 to 30 years old can try this way to grow, to learn, to move, to develop and to know more about themselves, the others and the world. The world and life don’t stop, they’re constantly changing, going ahead, passing. Everything changes and if we are open-minded, accept it and follow the changes, everything is easier.
Carmen: How you found out about this opportunity?
Cristina: I had finished university in Portugal and no opportunities to work came. I had already the idea of volunteering, but in a lot of projects, you need to pay. I wanted to make a volunteer project or to study music again. So, then I found EVS projects on the Internet, I sent an application for about 10 projects in Europe and I chose one of the first three which contacted me. Italy was never planned in my life until 3 weeks before to come.
Carmen: Do you feel that your way of working changed after you have done the EVS? And after did you felt that If yes, how?
Cristina: I guess it changed. I was more methodical and formal, and during EVS, I realize that little things can make the difference. As a psychometrician, now I think to pass time with the people, to listen to them, to give your time and attention is more important than to follow a rigid protocol of intervention. I became more practical and sensible with people after this experience.
Carmen: For do you advise someone that is finishing the EVS or is to start planning to do the EVS?
Cristina: For whom are planning and EVS – Don’t give a doubt that this is good for you! If you want/can come to a long term, great; if not, just 2/3 months project it’s okay but goes. It passes really fast and it can change you! Prove your fears that you’re able to overpass them and don’t feed the excuses… There are always things we can’t predict, sometimes we pass it well, other times, not that well, but it’s important to pass it, for you grow and happiness.
That’s all folks, now its time to follow us on Facebook to keep updated about what we are doing, and of course, the new opportunities. See you in the next post!