Ciao a tutti 🙂
I’m Tolunay from Turkey and I’m writing this article from Palermo/Italia.
I didn’t have any overseas experience before I came here so it was the first time abroad for me. I didn’t know what kind of people I’m going to meet or what kind of food I’m going to eat. Then I arrived in Catania and then took the bus (actually I’m late to take the bus but the bus also late, this is Sicilia) to Palermo. Our organizer Massimilano took me from the bus station because my sim card didn’t work and I called him from someone’s phone. He took me a place that I can eat something and meet some of my flatmates. When I arrive there all my worries are flown like a bird because I’ve eaten the best pasta of my life (almost 20 years)…
I can still remember the taste of paradise 🙂 Maybe it was just a portion of pasta but in my country, there is nothing about pasta culture so the pasta was delicious. And then I’ve met 2 of my flatmates, Lidia and Leticia, they were also really nice (of course not more than the pasta). They helped me to take my luggage to the EVS house, showed me the best places in the city and house stuff.
I’ve chosen Palermo because… first of all this is Italy and Palermo is in Sicilia. Sicilia is the biggest island of the Mediterranean sea, the weather is always perfect (imagine, we were going to parks for sunbathing in December). You can find anything you need, maybe also the things that you can’t find in the North part (for example warm people like the weather). Someone can tell you that ‘there is mafia don’t go there’, just don’t listen to them and don’t worry about this.
The place where I work is an association which is in a disadvantaged district of Palermo. They work for children who have fewer opportunities and life difficulties. What I’m doing there is designs (logo, poster…) for their Erasmus+ projects and joining the workshops as a facilitator. Children are very cute and adorable, they can’t even speak Italian – some of them speak dialect -, also I’m not able to speak in Italian still but they always find a way to communicate with you. About workshops, there are rooms for sport, music, dance, computer, art… and I and other local volunteers help them about homework and join workshops to help children and teachers. If you don’t speak Italian you will have some headaches for a few weeks as I had…
If you’re a volunteer you will have free time and vacations. You can improve your skills, you can travel or you can do both.
During my stay in Italy I visited almost all the dream places I wanted to see in Italy before Coronavirus. I was really lucky that I finished my trip and turned back to Palermo 1 week before the quarantine.
I also improved my English (before volunteering I was A2 level) and Italian a bit. I feel more comfortable using Adobe and other design programs, and I have beautiful friendships here. I’m already thinking that how I’m gonna leave this city and my friends.
This volunteering is the biggest experience in my life for now, if you are already European citizen, maybe volunteering abroad will not sound interesting to you, but as a Turkish citizen, I needed one hundred pages of documents and spent almost 1 month to take a visa for long term so it’s hard to find a way to go to Europe and take advantage of opportunities.
I think everyone should do volunteering once before die, also volunteering is good break if you’re bored with your university exams.
Thanks for reading.