My name is Eleonora and this is my testimony,

I arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam, on the 5th of September 2016; it was only about 6 months ago but feels like a lifetime.

During these six long months I had the most dramatic, exciting, fulfilling, rewarding adventure I ever imagine I would have.

My mission regarded a school for the blind in the South of the city, I was to teach English and life skills to visually impaired students and I was excited and nervous about what was ahead.

When the plane first landed, the sky was dark with cloud and the heat and humidity didn’t allow your eyes to see further than a palm from your nose.

I have to admit, I wasn’t impressed. The city was not what I expected, it was over-crowded and didn’t feel like home at all.

But I was not alone, four other volunteers lived with me and the feeling of uneasiness started leaving me. Working together, living together, eating together and even going out together gave me a sense of community I wasn’t expecting. Coming together for our classes, assisting each other in our tasks gave me the strength to make each day better.

As our students’ needs went sometimes beyond what we were prepared for, we often had to improvise, but that extra effort only made it more rewarding.

We learned together how to make the best for our students, how to assist them at the best of our capabilities, to cater each of their needs.

Towards the end, I started dreading the return, for I feared I will never feel as useful as I did there.

I started feeling prematurely nostalgic of the awful traffic, the insane noise of roosters at 2 in the morning and, above all, of my students and friends.

This place broke my heart countless times, but built me up stronger. When I left I didn’t even know if I was going home or I was leaving it.

I will not only treasure the journey of a lifetime, but that feeling of camaraderie and the idea of working together toward the wellbeing of our students gave me.

Thank you EVS, for a wonderful experience.

Eleonora with some childrenEleonora with some children

Eleonora, EVS volunteer within the Erasmus+ project  “2IQM

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