I don’t want to go away! - Lia Ternes Blog dei volontari

29/08/2023 Mateusz Przybylski

„I don’t want to go away!“ this is kind of the main thought when I walk through Bolzano now, almost at the end of my one year voluntary service. My name is Lia, 19 years old, and for 11 months now I have been participating at an ESC-Project in youngCaritas Bolzano.

Last year after graduating from school in Germany, I found myself in the same situation like many school leavers: with only a little idea about how my future should look like- far too little to decide directly to go to university- and the curiosity to do something completely different from school. Therefore, I started searching for possible opportunities then found myself on the page of the ESC- Programme, and now here, in Bolzano.

Before I came here, I didn’t know anything: I never was in South Tyrol before, not even in Italy in general, my impressions of Bolzano where made out of Google Streetview and my grandparent’s opinion, who were there in vacation many years ago. With my future flatmates, I exchanged 3 or 4 text messages in advance and my future work supervisor I knew from a Zoom call and some emails.

Now looking back, at this Lia unsure about what to expect and about how things will turn out, it feels so unreal. Because now all this has become a part of my life: Bolzano feels like home, I love the city, the mountains all around, the mix of cultures. My flatmates are like second sisters to me and I am very close with my colleagues. Looking back, I think I could have taken now better decision.

I really like my work, because there is so much variety: Some days we are in the office, organising things for young people, creating some things for Instagram, also doing some translation work... Two times a week I am helping in a Refugee-Home, doing homework with the children or just playing with them. Sometimes it can be very hard, but in the end of the day, I feel that I changed something and that I gave something to the children. It is beautiful to see, how happy they are, when I come to take them to play and how they start to trust me. And that compensates for everything.

In short, I don’t want to go away, but life goes on and there are other things to look forward to. And I know, that they are so many things I will take with me: lifelong friendships, new languages, more self- confidence and the idea, that you can have an impact.