I am Jenya and I came back from my EVS recently.
Doing an EVS was my aim for the last two years. I was trying to find a project that would match my interests in the country that I’ve chosen – in Italy.
And after waiting for so long, one day I saw a call on the Facebook page of FIOH. It seemed like it was going to be the opportunity I was waiting for. And it was, indeed. A project that I liked in the country I adore – a
perfect chance that doesn’t come to happen often.
And I was going to go to Italy in order to live one of the best experiences in my life (now I know). Of course, you’re uncertain, it is not easy to leave your country, your home, your family and friends and go to live in a totally unknown country for 1 year, but, you know, you have to challenge yourself, to take the courage to go out of your comfort zone, because beyond it there are the personal development, adventures, incredible people, unforgettable moments, dreams and ideas. I took the risk and I arrived in Italy. To say that I was happy, excited and curious, will mean to say nothing. It was a wonderful small town called Cremona in the North of Italy, known for its musical history and traditions and outstanding luthiers such as Stradivari and Amati.
My project was in the Projects’ and Resources Office of the Cremona Municipality. I was ready to have difficulties with integration, to take time for establishing relations with the colleagues but I didn’t need any time and effort, they welcomed me with widely open heart, and gave me love, care and support during the whole project. I never stop telling that I am lucky. I am lucky to appear especially in this hosting organization, I am lucky to have FIOH as my sending organization, where they were so careful in the whole period of my project with their support and follow-ups.
My main activities were finding regional, national or international projects, opportunities for young people, managing social media accounts, helping in the organization of events such as Volunteers’ Day, Europe Day,
starting and managing the English Speaking Club, visiting schools for Erasmus+ projects and especially EVS promotion, etc.
Apart from the skills and competences gained during the working hours, constantly learning from the professional and experienced staff, I had the opportunity to introduce my culture, some typical food, and also get to know not only Italy’s culture, but also meeting other volunteers from different countries gave me the opportunity to know also their cultures and lifestyles. All the friends I made, all the amazing places I visited, all the memories I collected are a part of this experience.
What is EVS for me beyond its official description? It is worldwide networks, new friends, new skills, new experiences, travel, challenge, victory over yourself and your fears. It’s a whole life in one year!