I came to Sicily to experience the Italian lifestyle and live in another country for the first time in my life. Instead I came into contact with not only the Italian culture, but also the cultures of other international volunteers, students and immigrants, and I learnt a lot about myself and my “Dutchness”.

In Palermo I worked at Casa di Tutte le Genti, a kindergarten with kids from the immigrant community. Slowly but surely, I became very attached to all the children. It still amazes me with how little you can make a child happy. The centre was not well organized, making the work challenging at times, but the staff and our team of volunteers have tried to restructure the association together. I can leave Sicily knowing that I did everything I could to provide my centre with the tools to continue in the future.

Besides my work in the kindergarten, I also taught English to adult immigrants. Although this was originally not part of my project, I felt like I needed a more mental challenge than only the work with the kids, and CESIE allowed me to arrange this for myself.

Other than my job, I really enjoyed living and working together with volunteers from other countries. There was a real sense of community, and it was very easy to meet up for a gelato, party, or even a trip across Sicily. Most of my favourite moments were in the company of other volunteers.

After my EVS I know that I will use the perseverance, cultural awareness and self-knowledge that I gained here in the future. I know better what things are important to me, and in which other areas I can be more flexible. I hope to see some of the amazing people I met here again, either in Sicily or wherever I will go next!