EVS for six months - impressions for a lifetime! Blog dei volontari

06/04/2016 Sarah Loepelt

Hello everybody, my name is Sarah, I’m from Germany and I finished my European Voluntary Service in Trento about one month ago. I can't imagine that already more than half a year passed by since I have left my home town for my journey to Italy!

Every single day was full of new experiences, encounters with persons from all around the world and of discovering my new living environment. So time just went by unbelievably fast.

Now, looking back at these months, I can assure you without any doubts that performing an EVS is an adventure of life.

You would like to know why? Then you are perfectly right here! Because I will let you take part in my personal EVS story from the very first:

Just after my graduation at secondary school I arrived in Trento in September 2015, full of curiosity about my first longer stay abroad and new phase of life.
My destination had been my hosting organisation InCo from whose staff members I was welcomed in the kindest way.
Thanks to their afford I was immediately integrated into the network of EVS volunteers from associations collaborating with InCo.

I had the chance to get to know persons from different countries in the same situation as me. By meetings, exchanges and the support of each other we built strong bonds between us very soon: The ones who were already performing their voluntary service in Italy approached us newcomers with the greatest openness and cordiality. They not just gave us advice, introduced us to Trento and the Italian culture but, at the start, also acted as our patient translators.
At once I appreciated this attitude and I am still very thankful of it!

But only little later Italian wasn't such a great difficulty anymore as well.
While living in another country and being surrounded by its language all the time - during your work, among friends or at home - you learn it nearly as a sideline.

The staff of InCo always encouraged us to use the language, giving us tasks nearly right away in Italian. We grew with the challenge and finally managed to fulfil our responsibilities.

My job mainly consisted of organising activities with other volunteers of InCo's partner associations, like educational games and workshops, and implementing them with children, youths and elder people.
Through this I could see different entities and even travel to other parts of Italy, for instance to the SOS village in Saronno near Milano.

I was also very lucky considering something else: I was given the chance to share an apartment with both my Hungarian co-volunteer Ági and four Italian girls studying in Trento.
Belonging to the Casa alla Vela, which is also the home place of seniors and their carers, the flat is part of an intergenerational project.
Thereby, apart from practising my language skills, I could meet different age groups and get a vivid insight into Italian lifestyles - probably the best opportunity to learn about another culture, reflect about stereotypes and reduce prejudices.

My stay in Italy as an EVS volunteer was finally a constant learning process which has impressed me a lot.

Because in such a short period of time I could gain incredibly many things: I learned a new language, met a lot of kind persons from other parts of the world and got to know more about their nationalities, cultures and countries, I worked in an international team and developed my personal independence.

For me, nevertheless, the most important thing has been one discovery: I noticed that rather by the spontaneity of a situation and the simple but valuable exchange with each other I could achieve all of this.
It is the principal of mutuality I got more conscious of, and the attitude to see every little moment of life as an opportunity - to learn, to reflect upon one’s own lifestyle and to grow in a great variety of ways.

And that's what enriched me most of all, finally. It convinced me to consider the European Voluntary Service as an impressing and unforgettable experience of my life!

Everyone who has been a part of this and enabled me to have such great time as an EVS volunteer I owe deep gratitude.

Thank you very much for everything!