My name is Marit, I am 18 years old and I was a short-term volunteer for CESIE in Palermo for two months. Back home in The Netherlands, I was looking for more adventure and I really wanted to meet new people. I got on the European Solidarity Corps website and came across this opportunity. It promoted community and improving social skills, which definitely got my attention.
Together with volunteers from all over Europe I got to experience a lot of different types of community work and challenges. I had the privilege of working with (young) children, which taught me a lot about communication and providing for kids when you cannot fully understand them. During the two months I got to bond with them and learn a little bit of Italian which made it a lot easier for them but also for me to understand each other and do some activities like colouring and helping them with their schoolwork.
Being grateful and flexible are two skills I have gained in Palermo. Another centre that I worked in played a big role in this personal progress. In this centre I got to help a very dedicated and passionate team of people in providing a warm lunch for the less fortunate people in Palermo in need of some food and company from each other. The main tasks were cutting the vegetables as preparation for the lunch, serving the food and cleaning up after.
In the two months that I spend in Palermo I can definitely say that I have become more aware of different cultures and open-minded because of that, got more independent and confident and maybe most importantly I gained some beautiful friendships. Those friendships might just be the best thing that I got out of this experience. Almost all of us did some kind of community work and it was very nice to be able to share your day to day experiences, which could be a little difficult or stressful at times, with each other but also being able to explore the city and the whole of Sicily.
Learning the Italian language is also a very nice challenge for when you’re there. I think it is common knowledge when I say that Italians struggle a little with the English language. Luckily we were all in that together as foreign volunteers. It was a lot of fun to learn a little bit of Italian through the internet, but even the children that I got to work with helped me a lot. Not only by speaking to me, but reading children’s books, watching Italian children TV and listening to children’s songs.
Overall, I am very thankful that I got to be in this project and want to encourage other young adults to go explore more out of your comfort zone and grow as a person!
ESC Volontunteer – Sharing solidarity