Goodbye Inco, goodbye ESC. Blog dei volontari

30/09/2021 Fabiana Paoli

The time has come to finish my project, a year is only long when you think about it, but in practice it went by way too fast.

During these 12 months I have experienced it all, the good, the bad and definitely the ugly.

To anyone thinking about taking this opportunity, I would say “Take it”, don’t give it too much thought, you won’t regret it. But it’s not gonna be a brisk walk in the park, it’s going to be a whole journey.

In terms of my project, I feel like it’s been a great experience, I’ve felt part of the office, I’ve worked with almost everyone at Inco, I’ve learn about their paces, their stress, their passion projects, their musical taste and even about emotional intelligence to make the workplace a better space. You start learning on day 1 and here I am on day 356 still learning. If you allow me to give you some advice, don’t compare your project with the projects of other volunteers, the realities of each organization are completely different, and they all have their good and bad things.

My work at Inco opened me a door to know a lot of different organizations in Trento, to speak with so many different people and to understand how something as big as the Erasmus + project work. This door, lead me to decide to stay in Trento for another year, and it’s only going to be possible thanks to the people I met here and their interest in helping me. I will be doing a Servizio Civile for the next year in another local organization and wouldn’t have been possible without having Fabiana and Patricia as examples of people who did it first, without Kerstin interceding for me on the phone to make sure bureaucracy could be bended and without Thomas, a volunteer in the Tap Revolution project who helped me so much on his free time to make this possible.

About being a volunteer, there’s nothing to not like, although it’s challenging, you’ll be sharing your year with people from all around the world who may or may not have things in common with you, and you may even have to share a room or a kitchen with them. You’ll create incredible bonds and meet amazing people, but you’ll also have to say goodbye to them at some point.

Meeting Juliette completely changed my expectations on myself and taught me that sometimes working on yourself has to be your priority. Meeting Laura and Julia taught me that living with 18-year-olds is not as terrible as it may sound (jk girls) and that even through the worst, you have to stick together and face the problems as they come making jokes all the way. Meeting Sagar brought me the deepest, silliest conversations and also a great support, sometimes a shoulder to cry, many times. Meeting Christina felt like finding a long-lost sister, I learn that you can fully show your emotions and be close to those around you when you truly find a space in which you are supported. Meeting Angel taught me that connecting with people is important, that perseverance is a gift that I admire on others and how important it is to care about your people, no matter what, even if you’re just “volunteer friends”. Meeting Juan reminded me how little the world can be and at the same time how much of it I haven’t met, that you should always be open to discuss things and discover new ones. I’ve barely had time to meet the germans, but I now I have a year to learn from them.

About challenges, be ready to deal with mood swings, being on top of the world one week and ready to pack your bags the next one, it happens, we all went through it, there’s one not-so-easy solution: Find you support system, find a person to tell. Whenever I had bad news, I would call my friend Fede back in Spain and he would bully myself back to reality, because he knows that’s what I need. Sometimes you just need to sit on a crowded room of volunteers almost screaming in English with accents to find yourself truly calmed. People in Trento, if you happen to end up here, are the kindest, sweetest breed. They love to see you, they love to meet you and they love to help you, it’s almost creepy to the point of finding yourself wondering if that’s even possible.

If you end up working at Inco, embrace Fabianism, it works.

About Italy, take it all in, go to all the cities, eat in all the restaurants, talk with all the people, swim in all the lakes, swim in all the lakes, go hiking, swim in all the lakes. It’s a wonderful place and you will never have a better context to enjoy it.

I say goodbye to the blog but I stay here, so if you come, we might get the chance to meet. Please say hi, I’m the loud Spaniard with the bad Italian.

Hope the new bunch of volunteers continue what we worked kind of hard on, it was fun to force people to write once a week and now I can finally delete all of your pictures from my phone as somehow the instruction “send me the pictures on the email” were never straight forward enough.

That’s all folk, 

Love. 

Reme.