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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!
Hi Ragazzi, welcome to another “Interview with …”! Today I will interview my mentor: Ina Sasnauskaitė.
From North Europa, more precisely Lithuania, with only 26 years old Ina was herself an EVS volunteer.
In order to deliver to you her EVS experience and also to know what motivated her to remain in Italy one more year, now doing Service Civile, I decided to invite her to here! My main goal is also to show you the possibilities you have after doing EVS. As time is passing, the clock is getting closer to time when EVS is going to end. But don’t be sad because it is getting over, be happy instead because of this interview was very inspiring!
Resume your EVS (organization, city, how long it was, activities you were doing):
To begin with, I came to Faenza with Pigreco, my EVS was 12 months (1 Year) and I begin in September. What I was doing in EVS? In the beginning, was more, let’s say, graphical thing, more social media. But then, after two months I initiated English courses so since then I was teaching English. Later on, I was also doing some activities in the school, but mostly I was keeping with the English lessons, so much plus minus December. So in December it was more prepared for the next volunteers, the information that we had.
What was the good side and the bad side of going EVS, and the activities that you liked the most?
The good side I think is clear, that you are learning, that you are coming out of your comfort zone very fastly. The best side is that you sometimes miss your comfort zone. Activities that I liked the most? I think are the activities that I still do: graphical work and mostly the lessons.
How the idea of continuing staying in Italy came? What you are doing currently?
To be honest, Its wasn’t mine idea. My boss´s, one day asked “would I be interested of staying a little bit more and they offered me the opportunity of staying in the organization. And of course that organization is not very huge and cannot pay a real salary, I needed to find something in between so now I am going Civil Service (Servicio Civile). I am doing that in ….Diviso, or shortly called Ami – organization that is responsible for missionary service in Africa. And overall, emigration or other education in the schools. Overall we can say that is literally the translation of the name of the organization that means the friendship of everybody in the world.
What is your perception of this opportunity?
The part of the Civil Service? It is still a good opportunity to learn the language for me. As a came here in Italy knowing probably 13 words, it is a good opportunity to keep learning the language, the culture, and some other things. As a real work, does not give me as much as experience but I think for 1 year is a good stability point. A good point to rethink because wide in the things to do: you have many activities, very different activities so maybe it gives you fill the movement.
How you found out about this opportunity?
To begin with, Laura (boss of Pigreco) told me about it. It was her one of the recommendation to try. And then, of course, I was more interested in the search for different ones, to search possibilities where could I do that. I came up with a few ideas and my preferred one became my actual work.
Do you feel that your way of working changed after you have done the EVS? And after did you felt that If yes, how?
I would say yes because I begin to look at the time table not so strictly as I was used to. But overall I would not say that my way one working changed that much. But my work as an idea changed a lot because before coming to EVS I was accounter and now I am kinda free bird. That was the real change, but overall everything else did not change. I still have some things that I keep in my mind that probably does not go along with everything else, in today’s work, but nothing that I did not has before.
For do you advise someone that is finishing the EVS or is to start planning to do the EVS?
So, to be open to experiences. Don’t spread for anything. Never think that you have a lot of time, especially for those who are wishing to do EVS. Never think that you have a lot of time to travel, never think that you have a lot of time to learn something. Because time in the situations pass super fastly and then you cant count in the fingers or even more, how many places you missed, how things you could learn but you did not pay attention at that moment. Prioritize what you want actually to do and be clear about that for your mentors. And also if they give you work, always take it. is the best way to learn, even the work that you already did, every time is changing. At least in my case, it was.
“ I think yes, ESC is for everyone people just need to have enough courage to make the first step because after making the first step, I think they will realize how they will be changing while that process, how they will be making an impact in other people. because ESC is not about ESC with the Local cultures, but it is about the interaction with the cultures of people with whom you are going to work. So, for instance, our team is a very international team we have people from Russia, from Portugal, from Spain. I am not learning only Italian culture, but I also dive into the cultures of the people with who I am interact on daily bases. That’s why I think whoever will take this opportunity to be in other country and volunteering and sharing his or her time and knowledge with other people, and at the same time, learning and growing, thanks to other people that are surrounding them, that person it will definitely enjoy this challenge. Because challenges are the things that help us to grow so I think definitely everybody should enjoy this. However maybe people that have totally different values, like the ones that never volunteer maybe or the ones that don’t consider it right to work without being paid well, for them maybe can be wrong doing this.”
Ciao Ragazzi! It’s me, your favorite volunteer. If you are new in this blog, welcome! If you are keeping up, you already know that on my last post we did an Interview with Zoe,an EVS volunteer living in Milano, in order to show the differences between doing an EVS in a big vs small city. So today the second part of this interview project is going to take place.
From Paris to small city here in Italy, Romane is going to relate her story and giving us the other point of view. Grab you Tea, and prepare to do scroll.
Let’s start with a little introduction, please present yourself.
I’m Romane, I’m 24 and I come from France. Directly after school, I studied 3 years of German literature and 2 years in social politics. When I got my master’s degree, I felt the need to have completely new work experience, to travel and to learn a new language. And so I decided to do an EVS.
Did you take into consideration the place where you are living starting doing the EVS?
Absolutely not! I just wanted to find a project in the field of media. It could be in a city or in a village, in Italian or in another country, I didn’t care, for me, the most important was the project. Finally, I found a project on a radio in a very small village ( 4000 people ) in the mountains, close to Torino.
What is like doing EVS in a small city?
Just before to begin the project, I worked in Paris. To go from a giant city to a very small town was really strange at the beginning. I missed the nightlife with bars, restaurants, club. I missed also the “cultural life”: cinema, exhibitions, theatre, etc. But finally, I’ve gotten used to my little place. The landscape is just magnificent, there is no traffic and pollution like in Paris, I can go to work by foot. Every week I walk in the mountains, I meet friends on the river or in the different gardens of our houses.
Finally, I don’t feel the need to go to bars or club because we are more than 15 volunteers in the place and we always meet each other and organize a party together.
How much is your pocket money? Do you think is more difficult or easier to manage your pocket money according to the place you are living now?
I receive every month 270€, of course, it’s easier to manage my pocket money in my place because there are no “temptations” of the city life (bar, cinema, etc.). We just spend the money on food or drinks in the supermarket and it’s quite cheap.
Do you consider that is easy to make friends in your city?
Yes, it was easy because like I said we are a lot of volunteers here. I’m happy because I made Italian friends too in my workplace and in different parties ( Friends of friends of friends ).
What are the bad side and the good side of living in your town?
For me the bad side of living here is the difficulty to join the big city nearest, Torino, or to travel in general, always it’s just a mess: we have to take a bus which never comes, and after trains which always are canceled. The good side is really to enjoy the mountain: climb, ski, hiking. And I think we are nearest with all the other volunteers because we’re together in the middle of nowhere!
Do you have any advice for future volunteers?
For me, the volunteer has really to pay attention to the project more than to the place, there are always good things and bad things to leave in a small or big city. ( even if I recommend to all to come in Torre Pellice !!! )
That’s all folks! I would like to thank Romane for this collaboration and of course, you to stick with us until here. If you think this is over, you are wrong. My next post is going to be a little “reflection” about both interviews which the main objective is to clarify in order to give you all the information for making a good decision in your EVS.
My name is Carmen Alcobio and I see you next week!
Ciao Ragazzi! It’s me, your favorite volunteer again! Our new topic in this blog “interview with …” had great feedback, fortunately, so I decided to move to another level: compare what it looks like living in a big city vs loving in a small city as a volunteer.
In order to present to you what looks like living in a big city as a volunteer, I invited Zoe Klein. Actually one of the roommates of my arrival training and for who I shared great moments with.
The second part of this post is going to be published by Seda. If you want to be one of the frists knowing that, just subscribe our facebook page.
For now, let’s jump to the main reason why you are here!
Hi Zoe, lets start it presenting yourself first!
I’m Zoe, 19 years old German volunteer, doing his EVS in Milan. Here I live with another German
volunteer in an apartment and I work with disabled people in a CDD (the disabled people are only for
the day there). Last year I finished school in Germany with a so called abitur and I’ve decided to take
a gap year before going to University. Because after 12 years of theoretical learning at school I wanted to do something practical, where I feel usefully and helpfully. But I also wanted to go abroad and change my usual environment and learn how to be on my own. Therefore I didn’t really want to do a volunteer service in Germany and made some researches on the internet, where I found the EVS – a perfect combination of all my desires.
Did you took in consideration the place where you are living starting doing the EVS?
An EVS in a big city offers many possibilities, especially the arrangement of my free time is much easier. In Milan are so many Museums, for example Fashion, Modern Art, Classic Art, Science etc. So that you can spend like every weekend in another Museum. Like in many Italian cites the entry is
every first Sunday and every third Tuesday for free, what is a good offer, especially when you’re for a long-time period in the city. The only problem is, that in Milan are especially at the weekend many tourists and if you go shopping or want to eat something in the center there’s always a big queue or you can basically just move really slowly.
An advantage of a big city is also the Metro. Our apartment is fortunately really close to metro line, where every three minutes comes a new subway, taking you to another place. But after half past twelve in the night there are no Metros anymore, because if you go out you have to take one of the
night busses. In the night you can go in one of many clubs or drink only an apretivo in a bar, which is not always expensive (happy hour!). There’s also a WhatsApp group for Erasmus people, where they offer everyday promotions for bars, restaurants and clubs.
If you want to do sport, there are also many sport clubs, where you can go and near our apartment is a big park, which is perfect for jogging. I am doing for example athletics, what you can find in kind of every city, but my roommate can also continue playing handball in Milan, which is not a common sport in Italy.
Do you think is more difficult or easier to manage your pocket money according to the place you are living now?
Every moth we receive a pocket money of 100 Euros, which is ok, because my parents still transfer me the child benefit that I would get in Germany. In this way it is enough to pay some weekend trips or shopping, but if I would go out every weekend, it would not be enough.
Do you consider that is easy to make friends in your city?
I think, if you’re doing an activity, like a sport or a painting course or something like that, it is easy to find some new friends, who are sharing the same interests. At the Universities you can also participate at Tandem courses where you meet with other people to learn and help with another
Every Moth is also a Training with other EVS volunteers, provided by the organizations, at different locations, where we visit unknown parts of Milan or talk about our EVS. Every very second week we visit a theater workshop together, so the organizations really want us connecting with other people.
what is the bad side and the good side of living in your town?
In general the big advantage of living in Milan are definitely the many opportunities you can have, (if you want to) because with the Metro everything is really close and there is so much to see in the city.
A disadvantage might be, that there are always many tourists and during the rush hour the subways are full. Everywhere are streets, therefore it is really loud and smells like exhaust. Especially in the center, are many homeless and poor people, what is a big contrast to the rich people, who are
showing of their expensive lifestyle. But my hometown in Germany is also not really small, so I am already used in all these things.
Do you have any advice for the future volunteers?
I would advise the next volunteer, that he/she should really be open-minded and motivated to do this. Because if you are not, you cannot really enjoy this EVS experience, which is more than just the work, it’s about learning a new language, living another culture, making new experiences and learning your own limits, because you are confronted with a totally new situation. This could make you feel homesick sometimes, but enjoy it as much as you can, this time of your live will never come again!
That’s all folks! I would like to thank Zoe, for everything. And see you in the next post.
Ciao a tutti! Stiamo cercando un/una partecipante italiano per un progetto di volontariato internazionale ESC.
Il progetto si svolge in Romania. Tutte le info specifiche sono nell’infopack!