Hello everybody, my name is Mathilde. I’m French and I’m 19 years old. At the moment I’m an EVS volunteer in Palermo. I’ve been here for 6 months in the framework of “Culturopolis” project. In three months my experience as a volunteer will be over. I have decided to do an EVS because I wanted to help as many people as possible, so when I saw this project I thought it was the perfect opportunity. It was really important to me to do it here also because my grandparents came from Italy. At first it was difficult to adapt because my Italian and English language skills were not good enough; therefore I was very motivated to engage in conversations with anyone at work as well.

I work in 3 different centres and all my activities are coordinated by CESIE. The first centre I work for is Ubuntu, an intercultural kindergarten attended by children of different origins and ages. There, I take care of the children and play with them. We carry out different activities together depending on their age. For instance, I can help them learn the colours. The second place I work in is a food distribution centre for people in need where I have the opportunity of assisting migrants which is one of the reasons why I came to Palermo. Migrants need help in order to integrate into our society, but most of the time they just need a person who listens to them. At the centre I help cook food, serve meals and talk to the guests. The last centre I work in is the Fraternity which offers services to people with disabilities. I have asked to work there because there are disabled people and you can get a very special training. We do a lot of activities to help them be independent.

But an EVS experience isn’t just about work, there is also social life. In Sicily people are very open and friendly and it is easy to make friends. I spend most of my free time with a group of volunteers and Erasmus students coming from different countries, so it is very interesting to know more about our languages and ​​cultures. There is a great solidarity amongst us. The funniest thing to do all together is to travel all around Sicily and Italy as well. I live La Dolce Vita every day.

Thanks to EVS we can get many skills we’ve never thought existed before, this experience helped us to get to know ourselves better and to have more time to think about our future. We have many opportunities and free time to see wonderful places. It is a life-changing experience to live to the fullest.