"I could not be more grateful for my decision to volunteer" - Sophia's Experience in Italy Blog dei volontari

21/05/2024 Mateusz Przybylski

Γεια σας! I am Sophia and I come from the island of Cyprus. 7 months ago, I made one of the biggest decisions in my life to pursue one of my dreams, to become a volunteer abroad. More precisely, I live in Bolzano, Italy and I am serving at Caritas as part of the young Caritas team.

I have been reflecting on my journey so far from the moment I set foot in Italy until now and I think it is important to share these thoughts:

Firstly, you feel all the excitement and an overly romanticized perspective of living abroad and being able to travel, to surround yourself with new people and to create unforgettable memories. Then, homesickness hits you, you question whether you belong in your new city, you miss speaking in your native language, you get existential about what and where ‘home’ is. Then, after you've completed more than half of your service, you've challenged yourself with things you thought you would not be able to handle and a feeling of sadness starts hitting when you realize every day more and more that the last day is approaching faster than you thought. It is like you are leaving behind a big part of yourself, the community that you created along the way and you are ‘forced’ to close a chapter that you might not be ready yet to close and move forward. In addition, I think this feeling of nostalgia makes me want to embrace the rest of these 5 months left as if every day was my first day!

I could not be more grateful for my decision to volunteer with an association like Caritas that gave me the opportunity to support and empower communities such as migrants, refugees, victims of domestic abuse and to interact with people from all kinds of backgrounds, religions and races.