European Voluntary Service (EVS) – A valuable experience

Friday 20 January 2012

Home » Experiences » European Voluntary Service (EVS) – A valuable experience

More than 10 months ago, I started my EVS in Palermo, Sicily. Last March I was sitting on the airplane to Italy, I didn’t speak Italian and I didn’t have any idea of what was expecting me. In December I came back.

When I arrived in Palermo it was a rainy and cloudy day. My mentor, Salvatore Danile picked me up at the central station in Palermo, showed me my new flat and gave me a very strange key. Everything was very different from what I had imagined. I joined a group of volunteers from all over Europe and I met many friendly people from Cesie. My project was called Ubuntu III and my working place was”Il Giardino di Madre Teresa“ a multicultural kindergarten, founded by Rosita Marchese about two years ago. We had more or less 30-40 children in the age from 1 to5 years. I had never worked with children before, so I had my first experiences there. The children fascinated me, because they were so curious, clever and they were always laughing so much. We had great children in the kindergarten and I loved and still love, each and one of them. The first period was very difficult for me. I never travelled a lot, I had no idea what a ”terminal“ was , I never lived abroad before, I didn’t know any person in Italy and I couldn’t speak Italian – so you can imagine – communication was a big challenge for me. Somehow I was managing everything better and better as time went by. I organized workshops with the children, learned Italian (even when it was not that easy) and fell in love with Palermo. I loved ”Monte Pellegrino“, I loved the view from our house, which overlooked the ”Vucciria“ neighbourhood, the people, who were screaming at the market and finally I also loved my strange key. I got to know Italian culture, I saw African concerts and was eating international dinners. I got to now my limits and learned how to go over them. I became a very multifaceted, open-minded person, who is able to show that. EVS is a great chance! I realized that it doesn’t matter which background or personal experiences I have, if I decide what I want, then I have to work to obtain it and I can do everything in my life and I know that this is a big opportunity. I came back with a lot of wonderful and valuable experiences and gifts. I want to thank again Roberta Lo Bianco, Salvatore Danile and Rosita Marchese for their support during all these nine months! Thank you!

Sinem Akdeniz – January.2012