Living adventures and following a spur of the moment has always been my thing. In high school, I go to Pau which is an hour from my home, at university I do my years between Nîmes and Paris… Then after my master’s degree ends in October, the eternal question everyone asks themselves “Now, what I’m going to do?”
I wanted to go abroad, a particular feeling that I would be much more useful abroad than where I was. A week after I was accepted into the SVE and I arrived with my suitcases in Senigallia, Italy.
Today I work in the association “Le Rondini” which realizes the equivalent of our after-school system in France. We accompany the children in the realization of their homework, as well as the mothers in the learning of the Italian language (as we, finally…). We try to open them up to the outside world and teach them the values of sharing, mutual aid, respect. The unique feature of the association is that it mainly welcomes foreign children and families. With Paula, my roommate and my work partner, we had to deal with the difficulty of not being able to speak Italian in the first few weeks and having to do homework in an unknown language, Today, it is much easier and the children are very understanding. I have met a few children who are learning French, helping them and sharing my country’s culture with others makes me happy and proud of my country. I feel, as a family, in the big Rondini family.
This little anecdote is probably one of the most important moments for me. During the December holidays, I was more or less alone at home, and spending Christmas all by myself, I was prepared, but as life is full of surprises, it didn’t happen like that.On December 24th, I went to the association and we did the holiday homework (which children in the world agree to do the holiday homework on December 24th?), then a great snack without forgetting a distribution of gifts for all. Seeing the children happy, sharing this moment together, made me proud to do the work I’m here to do. In the evening, I joined the Red Cross volunteers in Pesaro, among volunteers from Portugal, Spain and France, we shared a Christmas dinner with a few of our respective countries to feel at home. On the noon of December 25, I was welcomed by the family of one of the volunteers of the association (former French teacher!), we went to the restaurant with all his family and I felt good there. It was a Christmas, unexpected, amazing, but happy.
Today, I have been in Italy for 8 months, in the city of Senigallia. I’ve met some absolutely fabulous people, I feel integrated into the life of the city, we try to participate in all kinds of events like the carnival, the International Day of Struggles for Women’s Rights, go to the language café, the Christmas or Easter market… We share this experience with many other SVE volunteers from all over Europe, we learn how each country lives in its own way and at its own pace, it is even more rewarding to share this experience with these people.
Sure, not everything is happy and there are moments of difficulty. We are trying to take the best of the experience we have, a mission that we have accepted and that we must take to heart. To tell you the truth, I didn’t expect anything particular from this experience, but I had very little time to really think about it before I left. From every point of view, it’s been beneficial, I’ve learned that getting out of my comfort zone isn’t so terrifying, that meeting people from Europe and the whole world is incredibly rewarding, That having self-confidence is something you learn and develop, that coming here was the best decision I’ve made in a long time. I’m 23, but I grew up a few years in five months here… So, if you are looking for a human experience, which is rewarding for you and others, to learn a new language and discover a new country, the SVE is for you!