My ESC experience - my first month in Italy Blog dei volontari

05/11/2021 Fabiana Paoli

Ciao a tutti!

I am Lisa and I am volunteer taking part in ESC-project. Now I am already living for more than one month in Bolzano a city in South-Tirol. In this brief article I want to give you a small impression about my experience so far.

My arrival

My day of arrival was already an adventure itself. Since the Deutsche Bahn had to cancel my train connection the very day I was travelling I had to literally fight my way to Bolzano under the condition of rail replacement service.
Imaginable how happy I was when I finally reached the train station of Bolzano. Picking me up the station my roommate showed me the way to our apartment.

My apartment 

When I first saw the apartment including my new bedroom I was more than satisfied with it. We have everything that we need for a living and the previous volunteers left a lot of self-made decoration which makes everything appear even friendlier.

Bolzano and the retirement home “Don Bosco”

The city Bolzano is a beautiful old city with a lot ofarchitecture. I live close to the “Piazza Walther” which is one of the main places here. Of course there are a lot of tourist attractions besides this but for me its not the sights that make living here so exciting. I for myself enjoy that we have in the park a lot of possibilities for outdoor activities. In addition there are a lot of small restaurants and bars where it is nice to spent an evening with friends. Furthermore the city really supports people who are taking bike which is way there are a lot of bike lanes. Therefore I also easily can take the bike when I am driving to work. Speaking of work I will now give you some information about  what it means to work in a retirement home in a foreign country. 

At my first day I was really nervous about the place and the people I was going to work with for over a year. But since the head of the animation team and everyone else welcomed warmly and showed me everything I soon became a part of the team. I had never worked with elderly people before and at the beginning it was a little bit hard for me to process all the impressions that were flowing in on me. The language, the behaviour of some elderly people – in total it was a completely new environment for me. But time passed fast an now I am already working at “Don Bosco” for over one month. What has changed in this period  of time? Firstly, the contact to the residents is now more than easy for me since I got to know the better through activities like drawing together, reading journals, listing to live music, enjoying clown therapy or simply talking about the day. I still struggle with the language barrier but everyday it gets easier for me to understand the people around me and express myself. It is true that Bolzano itself is a bilingual city but at work most of the residents only talk little German. But even though I could and can not understand everything the residents say to me mostly it does not matter that much because you can still give them something that is worth a lot – your attention which is worth a lot.

Things I didn't expect

Even though I already experienced a lot of things I am really grateful for there are also some aspects that I did not expect and also did not like that much. I will only give you a small list of them.
• The public transport in the city centre is really chaotic when it is raining.
• The Italian post is kind of slow and also it has really unfortunate opening hours for people who are working. 

These are just somethings I would have liked to know earlier. Still besides these two things I am really glad for all the things I was able to experience.

Trips so far

Besides to the city Bolzano I have also been to Verona yet and it was more than worth the travel since the architecture was astonishing and my room mate and me had lot of fun wandering around the city.