One warm day of last August in Madrid – just as hot as these days of June in Bologna-, you find a new message at your email account. It is the monthly newsletter from the sending organization that sent you in your first short EVS experience two years ago in Bulgaria with the Erasmus + Program. So you decide to take a look.
There´s a really interesting offer of a long term EVS related to audiovisual and media tools in an association in Bologna, Italy, for a period of 10 months. You are so into learning as much as possible at this field, and you don´t feel like keep working anymore in something you don´t love. So you decide to take a chance.
Photo took from me 3 years ago in Bologna from the Asinelli Tower during my Erasmus studies in Siena. (Flickr)
Then, a month and a half later, after sending your CV, doing a skype interview, you think: “What the hell am I doing here?” when you are having an espresso at the very same piazza where you were hanging out three years ago with your ex-flatmates from your Erasmus study in Siena, Tuscany.
The beginnings are not always easy and you can miss your people, but an open-minded city like Bologna offers you a ton of possibilities. People that were totally strangers weeks ago, become suddenly strong friends, and new people to share your culture with, and your vision of life. And to learn how to listen, and also how to cook, even the food from your country!
Cooking a delicious paella.
While you are living in your own, highly improving your level in another language, learning the way an European association works from the inside, using and improving all you´ve learned in the past years working and studying, -journalism, social media, and photography in my case- months turn into weeks, and even the people of the association turns into your family.
Taking a break for the bad weather at the end of winter in Bologna.
It feels so good to work with an association like Scambieuropei that develops its actions all around Europe with diverse projects, but also has an useful network in Bologna, in case you are interested to practice some interests and help other associations at a local level. In my case, I got in touch with Oltre association and its social projects, collaborating as a photographer. By collaborating with them I´ve learn a lot, I have helped the community and I also I met incredible people.
Opera theather with migrant people at centro sociale Camera d’aria.
Promotion event of the 11th bis edition of the Festival Internazionalle della Zuppa.
But if all of the new people that I was meeting during my first months of my EVS weren’t enough, it was time for me to participate in the so called “On Arrival Training“, a founded and really useful formation that you have to do at the beginning of your EVS project (with another 60 EVS European volunteers coming from all around Italy.) An opportunity to know your rights as a volunteer, your duties, and also to make friends and networking. We were able to visit Napoli also!
Some of the fantastic volunteers that I met during my Onarrival Training formation in Nola, Campania.
Panoramic view of Gaiola, beach near Napoli.
In my opinion, the European Voluntary Service means a lot of things: how to work in a team, learn how to be patient, know how to live together, and also learn how to use your money. Realize that in life, the fact of work it´s not only for the money, but also for learning. Also, so far in my EVS I´ve learned how to get excited as a child, make the best of my time and be aware of all my capacities and all my possibilities.
Possibilities like developing some interests and skills in other fields that I had before coming here, and some that I discovered during my stay here in Bologna, like the organization of this event at Bologna about the European Voluntary Service.
During this event, I had the chance to perform all the scenes that we were preparing for 6 months. This is another passion that I have discovered this year in Bologna: the theather.
After the recommendation of a friend that lived three years ago here I decided to give a try and it was one of the best decisions that I have never made. Acting has been such and incredible thing to express myself in an artistic way, to meet new friends, practice Italian language and perform a play in an actual theather!
All the loved fellas of the Compagnia Teatrale Notturno Sud.
And while I´m writing these lines, my period in Bologna with the EVS is almost finished. And of course I feel sad, because it´s been an incredible year, but I feel very joyful at the same time. Joyful for all the things that I´ve done, all the people that I´ve met, and all the things that I´ve learned. All of this now is part of me.
As I realized in the mid term, the second formation about the European Voluntary Service that I did some months ago, finishing something could be an end and you could fell blind for a while, but it always means the beginning of something else. And I will see it.
Me trying not to die in a group game of the Mid Term formation in Civitavecchia, Lazio.