I’m Dima Wehbe, 23, from Lebanon. I was totally ignorant about the migration crisis in Europe until I became part of it through my 9-months EVS project in Palermo, Italy. My project revolved around supporting migrants through non-formal education. I constantly strive for self-improvement and I’ve reached this limitless goal through the efforts I put and the external factors from this new experience. Today, I’m so content to have met new dear friends from different countries and visited so many breathtaking places.
Here are my tips to live the EVS experience to the max! (In case you got this once -in-a-lifetime chance!)
Pop Yourself Out of your Bubble.
Moving from a Middle Eastern country to Europe was a big deal to me. I expected a huge culture shock, until my feet landed in Palermo. The word “culture” dropped and I found myself shocked by the fact that Palermo and Lebanon are so much alike.
I discovered that I have so much in common with my fellow volunteers and migrants, who are from different countries, when I lived and worked with them. After living such a multicultural experience, I realized that, as cliché as this sounds, we are all so much alike.
#1 Motivation Tool: Listening.
I graduated from Journalism school and, as weird as this might sound, I never believed media. My EVS project granted me the opportunity to hear the migrants’ stories from the primary source. Them. I was all ears whenever any migrant uttered a word and NOTHING motivated me more than their words, their strengths and their weaknesses to work harder.
“I is here”. I made a mistake and I’m not embarrassed!
My EVS project was for nine months. I had nine months to grow a new baby, a language, inside me and give birth to it as I update the language skills section in my CV. But guess what? In the first five months, I murdered my baby because I was too embarrassed to make mistakes. Luckily, I stopped caring about this issue and started my trials in speaking Italian.
I improved well….. penso (I think)….
Changing the System? Too Dreamy. Yet Too Realistic.
After a couple of months in Italy, I started to think about ways to change the whole system! Wait. Don’t judge! Let me please explain myself. On some aspects, the system is so unfair with migrants. For example, migrants must start all over again with the Italian school curriculum and none of the studies they have acquired in their countries are valued.
I was realistic enough to know that I will not be able to change the system all alone. But I promised myself to be part of this change. Step by step, my efforts and YOUR efforts, as new EVS volunteers, will, one day, pay off.
Travel. Explore. Live.
You are in a new country with new friends. Why not take your days off to explore this country and live your experience to the max? I’ve always seen the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain in Rome or the Ponte Vecchio in Florence in movies, and it was time for me to star in my own movie.
PS. If you’re a Starbucks addict, do NOT choose Italy!