ESC in Palermo: an eye-opening period for me

Friday 7 October 2022

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Ciao a tutti! I’m Abigail, a volunteer from Transylvania, Romania. In September and October, I participated in the project called Mapping Solidarity at CESIE, which was the perfect start of my gap year.

Before this experience I wasn’t familiar with volunteering, let alone doing it abroad, so this was really an eye-opening period for me.

In those two months, among the activities I made, I had the opportunity to have some experiences in a kindergarten full of lively and playful kids. The time I spent there was truly uplifting, knowing that the institution does a significant service for the families of the community. Though we had some language barriers, the kids were always eager to teach us the crucial Italian expressions and sentences, such as ‘Vieni a giocare con me?’, so we never had a dull moment.

We also spent some days helping out at an organization providing meals, accommodation, and overall, a safe place for people in need. Working there was the highlight of my volunteering experience; the community of people I met there taught me a lot about empathy and social responsibility.

Towards the end of the project, I was lucky enough to volunteer and give a helping hand at a local street art festival, called Ballarò Buskers, organized by some of the nicest and most dedicated local folks. The event was the perfect representation of the atmosphere of the city and the Ballarò market, which was one of my favorite spots.

All in all, Palermo and Sicily exceeded my expectations in every possible way. With its unique street art, the city was constantly alive, always offering something new to discover. It was really exciting to blend in the daily lives of Italian people and learn about their habits, observe the small things that make the city special. Most importantly, exploring Palermo wouldn’t have been the same without my Czech and Spanish friends, Anna and Molly, and of course the other volunteers that I met there.

Abigél Csillag

Volontaria ESC – Mapping solidarity 2020