Ciao a tutti! My name is Zoli and I’m from Hungary. I’m 25 years old and I’m volunteering now in Palermo.

After I finished university in Budapest I applied for a voluntary service at CESIE. I was selected in October 2015 and finally I arrived here in January 2016. I was really happy to be here, because, on the one hand, in Hungary there was snow with 0 degrees and here in Sicily 22°. On the other hand, I was in a country with a different language, culture and a lot of challenges which I like.

Before I came here I was a bit worried because I didn’t speak Italian. It wasn’t a problem in the office or with the other volunteers since they speak English, but in the everyday life I needed the Italian language. Also, in the centre where I work people don’t speak English, so because of this, I was very motivated to learn Italian as soon as possible. I have to say that I improved a lot and now it’s much easier to make contact with Italian people and to speak to them.

Also, I didn’t know what to expect of the work. In my project “Able like you III” I’m working with mentally disabled people in a centre which is called Edificando. They have different levels of disability and first I didn’t know their needs and how to communicate with them without any Italian knowledge. It turned out that they are very open to everyone, even if these people don’t speak Italian. Non-verbal communication has a very big role, especially at the beginning. During weeks, me and the guys in the centre were getting closer and closer to each other and now I can say that we are like a family, we are part of each other´s life. And I like this a lot. Of course there are good and bad days and a lot a patience is needed for this kind of work but after all, I love going to Edificando and being with them every day.

I have to say that the EVS is the biggest experience of my life so far. It’s about opening minds, knowing other cultures, living another lifestyle, exploring the world around us, learning about other people, about ourselves. I would recommend every person to do an EVS somewhere because it’s an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.