Feeling at home while you are away: Beatriz shares her EVS experience

4 April 2019 | Stories and testimonies

From the first day I arrived to Palermo to do my EVS, I felt as home. I arrived at lunchtime and my mentor Mattia took me with other people from CESIE to have lunch together in the terrace of one of them. I didn’t understand a lot of Italian yet, but it seemed like a very familiar and close atmosphere. The following days he helped me to know the city, other volunteers, Mondello beach, the typical food and even the city hall!

The flat where I live is very big and it is in the city center, so I can walk everywhere and I am lucky because I have a very good relationship with my flatmates. When I walk around the streets of Palermo, I actually feel like at home because it reminds me to the city where I have lived the most part of my life: Alcalá de Henares. Both are old cities, with a lot of history, multicultural and with a perfect mesure to have a comfortable life. Moreover, it’s mostly the kindness of the people I’ve met here what makes me feel like at home.

In Palermo, I have started working in Centro Astalli, a centre that welcomes migrants and that offers many services like the breakfast, the shower, the doctor, the lawyer, laundry, the bazar and job search. I help with the breakfast and the reception, where I have to speak in Italian all the time, that’s why I have learnt it so fast. In Centro Astalli I have found all-aged volunteers that come from everywhere and the migrants are mainly from Bangladesh or the north and centre of Africa. When somebody wants to register in the centre, they need to answer some questions that make the psicologists from the centre, for example, how did they come to Italy, how long did the trip take, which path they followed, if they have family in their country or in Italy, if they worked there or in Italy, if the have the permission to stay, why did they come to Italy, etc. Sometimes, if they don’t speak italian, I have translated what they said so sometimes it’s been very shocking been able to hear the story of their lifes.

I improved empathy, working in a team, the attention and I learnt italian and to communicate with everybody no matter the language they talk.

Besides, I participated in an expression and theatre workshop of the project Ragazzi Harraga, which ended with a public performance, and it’s been very emotive because we all built a beautiful performance and a very special relationship between us.

I still have some months before my EVS finishes, time to learn and to discover, but it’s incredible how fast time goes by here!

 

Beatriz Nozal Bordetas

EVS volunteer within the Erasmus + project “No one is out”

What is EVS?

EVS (European Voluntary Service) is an international volunteer program funded by the European Commission. It enables all young people legally resident in Europe, aged between 18 and 30 years, to carry out an international volunteer service in an organization or in a public body in Europe, Africa, Asia or South America for a period ranging from 2 to 12 months.

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