What are you doing in Italy? What is the European Solidarity Corps? How you managed to go to Italy for a year? Which European project you joined?
These are questions that people are asking me constantly. Unfortunately, the lack of information regarding the European opportunities for young people make a lot of us wanting to travel around Europe, but can’t find the proper way. I mean almost everybody knows Erasmus+ for universities, where you are going to another country to study for one semester. You’re making new friends, you’re getting to know new cultures and you’re having the time of your life. But is this all? Is Erasmus the only thing that a young European citizen can do?
So, I’m here to tell you a big -with capital letters- NO! There are a lot of opportunities that you can take and travel around Europe with mobility projects for young people. I never knew and got me a year to realize it and learn about all of them. I joined the ESC and it was an amazing experience that I will always remember for ever. Starting for that I want to create a free space for everybody that joined European Mobility Projects to talk about their experiences and what they learned through the non-formal used activities and methods. Be ready for a lot, a lot of interviews of my friends all around the world!
My first guest couldn’t be anyone else except myself. My name is Danai, I’m from Greece and I’m 25 years old. I studied Italian language and literature in the National University of Athens and a year ago I joined the European Solidarity Corps as a attempt to move a step away from the comfort zone.
*WHICH PROJECT I JOINED*
I joined the European Solidarity Corps or ESC, because I’m usually bored to write the whole name. By joining the ESC you can choose various projects across Europe with different topics and different duration. There are the Short term ESC projects and the Long term ESC. I choose the second one and I came for a whole year in Faenza. My project had to do with the introduction of the Intercultural element in the local society; through various activities like linguistic aperitifs and conversations, writing European projects for young people, courses to asylum seekers and the promotion of the multiculturality in our social media, we aim to leave our intercultural character in the community of Faenza.
*WHAT ESC OFFERS YOU*
An ESC project for one that doesn’t know much about this experience might seem scary. How can I manage it there for a whole year? Do I have the money to live abroad by volunteering? How can I pay for all the tickets to get there? So to stop immediately all that questions, all of them are pretty much cover. You get a reimbursement for the tickets to go and return to your country, you get an apartment to stay with the other volunteers joining the project and you get some pocket money every month for your personal expenses. Still not satisfied? So let me tell you that the opportunity to have as roommates people in your age from all around Europe is the best experience. You get to know all these new cultures, you eat different traditional dishes every day and you get to learn some new languages!
*IS FAENZA IDEAL FOR AN ESC EXPERIENCE?*
Actually this was the first question that an Italian guy, the first local that I talked with here only to ask for a cigarette, asked me. Why Faenza, eh? To be sincere, I didn’t even know how was Faenza. This project was the only one that I applied, I liked the activities and I didn’t searched a lot about the city before coming here. Faenza is pretty small, but not tiny though. There are exactly the number of places to get around, you don’t need a car to move in the city and almost everything is close. People here are using the bicycles to transfer in the city, I never but either once I saw a taxi, that is strange for me coming from the capital of Greece where the taxi drivers have their own empire. It is a beautiful, full of green city in Emilia Romagna with a small historical center and gives you the opportunity to move around in the region with the train, which if you ask me it’s amazing. There are the perks though… given that is pretty small your options for a night out are limited and the options to shop some clothes I would say -I’m a shopaholic and a fashion victim after all-. But Bologna, with limitless options is just 30 minutes away and I’m always going there to party and shop in the sales. I loved Faenza as you can imagine, maybe is small but for it was ideal.