"Every day differs from the days before" - Four months of Vivian in Bolzano Blog dei volontari

24/01/2024 Mateusz Przybylski

Ciao raga! My name is Vivian, I am 21 years old and originally from Cologne, Germany. After what had been turbulent three years of feeling lost after high school, I decided in the beginning of 2023 that I desperately needed a change, and as things fell into place I found myself at the beginning of an ESC volunteering program in Bolzano, Italy four months ago.

Since then I have spent my days helping the animation team of an elderly home, and my experience so far has been nothing but positive. My tasks include transporting residents with mobility issues to appointments and events, organizing activities such as games and helping with food distribution, but over recent weeks I have also noticed a steep rise in just simple conversations with our residents, as I steadily improve my Italian skills. All of these things make me feel like I have a genuine and meaningful impact on the life of those spending their last few years in our home, which is a sentiment like no other I’ve ever felt and truly priceless. Every day differs from the days before, and there are always opportunities to learn, laugh, and sometimes even cry tears of joy.

Besides the working side of things, going abroad with ESC has allowed me to experience a new life in a new place without the pressure of having to organize and finance everything myself, which is an aspect that for me personally is an absolute game changer, as I can now truly focus on absorbing all the things I discover here and truly make the best of my time. I have also met new friends from all sorts of different countries that I wouldn’t have met if it wasn’t for this common volunteering experience, and the memories I have already made with them are among those I will remember for a long time. The ever-present burden of disorientation and malcontent I felt about my life in the past few years has faded into devotion to helping others, the joy of living an adventure and the pride of having proven to myself that I am capable of making a leap this significant out of the familiarity of my comfort zone. To say that I am thrilled about what is yet to come would be an understatement, and I am certain that the things in line for me will write stories that I will retell for ages.

There is so much more I could say here, but I hope that this brief recap of my time and observations here so far gave a bit of an insight on why I believe ESC volunteering is valuable for young people like me. I cannot recommend giving this journey a try enough, I’m sure it will be worth it! Good luck!