In life, when you start to face difficult moments, and you can’t find any more solutions, the only thing left to do, is to leave.  To make it clearer, I was looking for a way to escape the reality in which I lived, and I thought that this opportunity may work to change my life, and it did.

It all began by a chance. One day, I found out on the internet, the project which I took part of, and I sent a request for admission; it turns out that I have been accepted.

I was happy, but at the same time, I felt confused, but I was motivated because I was conscious that this would be  a great opportunity for me to change my perspectives, to try new experiences, and to live. Fortunately, my start was very hasty, and somewhat extravagant. I left my city, and my life without even realizing it, then, I found myself in a fantastic village in Provence, a charming region located in the south of France. I was arrived on October 25, and upon my arrival, I was greeted and hosted by members of the French association, “Solidarités de Jeunesses”; my contract was to be expired at the end of December.

Those two months that initially seemed long, ended up going so quickly, that I still have to process that I’m now back in Italy. This is probably due to the fact that I have lived fantastic moments during this adventure; finding myself in this new small, but great reality, was starting to feel great and enterprising to me. I had started a new life, and I was fond of everything that surrounded me. I easily established excellent friendships with my new roommates, with both members of the association, and also with the locals. My roommates with whom I was able to create a great bond, were many, and from different places, which was very interesting. I was fortunate to have the luck and the opportunity to know them in a deeper way during my volunteer path. I spent many good times with them, they made me feel at home from the first moment I arrived. During my project, I was able to know new places too, which were often over the weekends, because we were free; we hiked and we went to many beautiful places.

Working in activities, however, was quite interesting; immediately, my tutors looked for a way to make me feel at ease by trying to show me all the best ways in which the various ways to approach to the work camps. For example, we worked in a rest home with the elderly, as private English teachers, to give them the opportunity to learn a new language; and we also organized a class for the children of elementary school on the afternoons.  All of these activities were very challenging, and had to be organized in the best way. Our team of volunteers were very dedicated to that, in fact, every week we presented a list in which it was written all the activities organized for each week, which we found  very functional, and efficient.

During those two months, I tried to improve myself and to leave a mark in every work or activity I made and also to every person I have had a dialogue with, in order to transmit something to each person  about me and from my origins. Every work, activity or meeting that I made, gave me great emotions, and a great increase on my cultural knowledge; it also made me realize that the world is like a book: there are countless pages and the only way to discover them all, is to live.

During my volunteer I found the possibility to be passionate about new interests. For example, in my house, there was a beautiful library, where I started again to read; during the week I used to cook often, actually I had fun in the kitchen trying new recipes; and I also had the opportunity to take the bases of photography with the objective to present some pictures in an exhibition.

When you find yourself in a small village completely different from the environment of the big city  where you come from, you will probably find yourself more stimulated to your new surroundings, to stop and take a look to get to know and to discover. All of this because I fell in love with every single corner in the neighborhood, with its sweeping views, its own fresh, and delicate air, and even for the various horizons that surrounded us, from where I could observe the majesty of the nature in a completely and detailed way (given to the fact that it could be observed either long coastlines or vast expanses of green).

As a conclusion, I would like to thank CESIE for giving me the opportunity to travel, and to “Solidarités de Jeunesses” for the reception, and for everything that they made for me during my EVS. This experience has been truly fantastic, if I could have the opportunity to do it again, I hope that I could even involve more people as possible in the future. And maybe, even those less fortunate than me, who didn’t have the opportunity to know the beauty of the world, that can be a great opportunity to grow in a psychological and cultural way, and to enter in contact with a situation that will teach you to prepare to the hardest and most complex thing that exists for us humans, which is life.

Gianluca Cimò

EVS volunteer within the Erasmus + project “Many Opportunities Real Equality”




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