Who am I and why did I choose Palermo?
Hello, my name is Leticia and I am from Spain. Here there is some information about my experience volunteering in Palermo.
I was 26 years old when I arrived in Sicily in August 2019, within this opportunity I was looking for trying a different professional field than mine (I am a pre-primary teacher); to live in a foreign country, to learn the culture and language; to live with people from other countries and to find out who am I and who I want to be in the future.
When I was searching for a volunteering project, in my priorities list was to work with vector images and I found out this opportunity within IG in Palermo.
At that moment, I did some researches about the city and the population, like reading old volunteer’s articles and talk to them, and the answers were different depending on the person so I realised that I didn’t want to have any expectations and just let the city surprised me…
When I arrived, it caught my attention all the differences with my city and culture: the crazy traffic, the trash and cats on the streets, the Italian language, the food… little by little the new became normal and I adapted to this place, incorporating into myself the culture and language. I realised now that after these 11 months in Palermo, I end up loving the good things and understanding and respecting the rest.
What was I doing during my time in Palermo?
Working time: I was supporting Massimiliano and Monica at the office of InformaGiovani. In resume, my tasks were to create logos for projects and banners for events; to support preparing informational meetings with youngsters and to support the international projects like youth exchange, workcamp and training course. In this time was included my study time of the language courses, very helpful to learn Italian.
As the final project of my volunteering, I wanted to do something for Palermo’s society so I decided to do a workshop about sexuality. Searching for information about contraceptives, I realised how broad the topic was and that I had to focus on one point, so I came out with a new idea that became my final project: to create a board game about contraceptives and sexually transmitted infections named SAFERSEX.
In my opinion, the work during these last 11 months has been pleasant and smoothy. Furthermore, I can now work with agility on vector software and image edition, I consider that I am more able to do team working and I have improved my languages and communication skills in both Italian and English.
At the beginning was a priority to learn Italian, so I joined a theatre group and Wingchun lessons. It was very helpful to raise my confidence in speaking Italian and enjoy learning theatre and Wing-chun.
With friends I used to go to the beaches and natural reserves nearby: Monte Pellegrino, Cefalù, Capo Gallo, Mondello beach, Virgin Maria beach...
Also, the historical centre was a usual meeting point to take a walk, eat pizza, listening to the musicians playing on the street.
I discovered the best ice cream shop of all Palermo… I did a great investigation, the winner?
A famous ice cream shop of the centre… I love it.
Finally, I would like to outline that in a volunteering service not everything is great, sometimes it is not what you expected, as in my case, it has been a totally different experience from those that my friends told me they lived. Each volunteer service can be different.
However, I would like to say that I am happy about my experience because having in mind to be useful to the association but also to myself, I developed skills and abilities that I didn’t have before and now I feel more experienced and ready to the next adventure.
* Feel free to download the game SAFERSEX at the following link: https://safersex.wixsite.com/game
A little part of discovering...
Hi ! I'm a French girl leaving in Palermo for 10 months as an European volunteer. My name is Clémence. I'm 23 years old. I love to work on photography, to create, to travel and to handle time with friends. I came from Nantes, a dynamic and beautiful town in the west part of France, near to the end of the Loire river. I discovered that Palermo got this cultural and human dynamism as well, which make me feel better as home when I came here in September 2019.
I already did a volunteer service in my own country last year and needed time for my professional project. So it was the perfect time to get this experience in Italy. I choose this country because I wanted to learn Italian, most of all. I'm enjoying now to talk in this beautiful language. I'll improve more as well because I still need to learn more.
When I was looking for a mission, I saw this one in Palermo at Libera Scuola Waldorf.
It's an alternative school with a teachers and personal team really involve in the confidence of the student kids. The kids can come from ~3 years old till ~15 years. Their way to teach follow the Steiner philosophy. A way to teach without a class fuller than 10 or 12 school student, without note so with more time to explain and give knowledge to them and without any competition aspect. That was a really allure way to see the school. For my personal improvement, I knew it was the good project for my year. So I candidated and didn't leave it away until I got the opportunity to come here.
«Che faccio qua ? »
My mission is to support a 14 years old girl with special needs. She's a school student in Libera Scuola Waldorf 7th grad class. She can do a lot of things: painting, make jokes (a lot of jokes!), try again and again to improve her dance moves, for examples. But she's doing it slowly and sometimes with a big difficulty of movement. She speaks less than us. She began to speak at school last year. She needs to improve all these aspects. She also loves water. It's her matter because she's so in fluant materials to create and to live in the present moment. She's the kind who live with a lot of freedom in her personality and in same time too much of restrictions, her body as well.
So I'm helping her to live in school with hours to respect, activities to do and involvement in the school work to get. It's an handsome work because you really feel useful and you got a deep human relationship. If she's not allright today, I have to deal with it and find a double-energy for the school day. Energy for her to be more in her school day and energy for me to give her this source of zeal.
I have other tasks to do for the Libera Scuola Waldorf, like help one kitchen work, or take care of the space by cleaning stuff. It's happening when my girl is not at school for the day. Most of time, I'm only working on a day with my girl : from her arrival to the lunch time. I'm doing it from September of 2019 and finish it in the end of June 2020.
There are also some events in the school like the Day of «San Martino» where we went for a walk on mountains with only light in our home-made lantern, or the «Bazar» where the school create a market with responsable items, jewelry, soap, etc. for school, for parents, and who ever is coming ! We also did the «Carnevale» of course ! All the day, the whole school was celebrating and enjoying to be together. Such a good memory!
This experience show me more about how to handle a common rythm. When I’m with my girl, I must get her rythm for being with her and, in same time, find a way to get her in the rythm of school. So I take more time to talk, to make her understand how much time we have before the next class, etc. It needs a lot of patience and sometimes it’s hard, to be honest. But she needs it, so I’m getting motivation back. It can be usefull for later when I’ll work with team, as well.
In plus of this daily activities, I got the opportunity to create my own project in the school. It’s an activity we must do for and during the volontary time. Because of the exceptional pandemic situation, it was not sure how I will do it (by computer, in face-to-face, etc.), but I got all the time the insurance to do it. I planned to do an italian class about the right of the pictures (law) and the principe of the journalistic angle and the proximity law that use journalists to write articles. I got this knowledge during my studies and I did this class by animations activities that I knew how to do it thanks to my last year of volontary in France. At the end, I did this course for one class of the school. I choose the age of teenagers because it’s closer to their habits with phones, and to their growth time. They’re becoming more autonomous, but still need good informations to understand well. I’m glad to be able to try a new activity here.
Volonteering is not just the mission
Volonteering is not just a discover of your abilities in, most of the time, a relationship work. It's also a moving in a new city, a new culture, a new way of living. Learning a new language gave it to me a little headacke at the beginning of my journey. It passed out really quick because I'm lucky to have a mother language near to Italian.
It's an experiment as well about what's a language are. I discovered it's not just a way for communicate. It's also a way of act, with gesture, movements and way of expression. So I get a step to learn myself to another way to act.
The culture is so mind-attractive as well. I had to find my place in all of this. When I got it, I began to enjoy a lot to learn Italians’ way of living, cooking, etc. I saw how they used to take care about olives to make olives oil. Great stuff in Sicilian nature with such amazing people.
I took time (and money as well... haha) to discover a little more the country. I went to Milano, to Napoli by my own and I went to Rome with the «On-Arrival Training» organised by National Agency. All the time a great time to discover, to deal with another part of Italian culture. Even Italy is not the biggest country of world, there's so much to discover and so different way of living: the north and the south don't have the same road stuff, for example.
I knew already Sicilia because I went for a roadtrip with two friends in last June. It was such an amazing time also because it's such a beautiful region of Italy! I'm glad I didn't see just Palermo. It was, as well, an unexpecting opportunity to meet people from Libera Scuola Waldorf in first time and get one of my most human experience of my life.
I felt so useful, and I know a little more than before as well that it's so important to take a time for others.
I nostri partner
Questo sito è realizzato con il supporto del Programma Erasmus+. Né la Commissione Europea né le sue Agenzie sono responsabili del contenuto, che rispecchia unicamente le opinioni degli autori. Responsabile Pietro Galluccio
L'attività di InformaGiovani è supportata dal Comune di Palermo, che ha concesso l'utilizzo di un bene confiscato alla mafia per il progetto di sportello