Ciao a tutti, mi chiamo Lýdia, sono slovacca e ho trenta anni.
Not too shabby for one week in Italy, right? 🙂
It is hard to believe that little over two weeks ago I was still in Slovakia, kind of lost and not knowing what lies in front of me and now I find myself in the midst of what is quite possibly the biggest adventure of my life yet.
The first time I heard about European Voluntary Service (EVS) was when I was a student at the university, about to obtain my Master degree in European cultural studies. Back then I thought my time had passed and I had to enter the real world and find a real job and do some real responsible decisions about my adult life. And so I did, and failed and succeeded and went on trying to find my way and my place in the ‘real world‘ and a culture oriented job. When I was let go of my job of cinema manager due to financial and human resources issues, the idea of doing and EVS came to my mind yet again. Since I was already 30, I knew I had little time to find the right project, but as luck or fate had it, the right project found me instead.
When I saw, quite by chance, an urgent call for female EVS volunteer at Vicolocorto in Pesaro, Italy, I applied immediately. I knew I had nothing to lose. The next day I had a Skype interview and the day after I was selected. My life was about to change forever and for the better. I knew that much.
A week later I found myself at the Pesaro train station, equally terrified and excited, and almost sure that this was only a dream and not my new reality. I was immediately met with amazing kindness and welcoming I‘ve never received in my whole life, not only by the staff of Vicolocorto, but especially by five fellow volunteers that were impatiently waiting to meet me, at our volunteer house in Santa Veneranda. What followed was an amazing series of events connected not only to volunteering but also free time spent with my new friends, my new family for the next 8 months.
EVS experience at Vicolocorto includes helping at various centres for mentally challenged youth, physically disabled people but also helping young pupils with their homework, meeting people at library for casual conversations in foreign languages and also promoting EVS at schools.
I applied for this EVS project because I think that investing time and energy, support and knowledge into youth has a great meaning, being for them perhaps that someone we wish we had when we were growing up, and ultimately helping them realize their own potential.
I think EVS is the safest and quite possibly the most meaningful way of travelling abroad. It is an amazing opportunity to grow not only professionally but also personally, to better your language skills and it is definitely a huge leap out of your comfort zone. I know that any challenge that I will encounter these following 8 months will change me for the better and make my decision to do EVS 100 % worth it.
It is safe to say that my first week of EVS experience exceeded my expectations by far. I’ve met so many wonderful people, experienced new things, visited new places and even had to re-learn some skills and have some serious bruises on my legs to prove it. J (Just a heads-up à riding a bike is a must in Pesaro). And there is still so much to come which makes me very happy and excited.
When me and my new wonderful volunteer friends sit in our kitchen/living room, laughing, playing guitar and talking in the mix of English-Italian-French-German-Spanish, I cannot help myself but to think how rare and beautiful it is to even exist.
La vita è bella, indeed.