Servizio Volontario Europeo (EVS), Vicolocorto

Dalle montagne al mare

Hopefully you are all doing fine in these exceptional days. Since I am having a lot of time right now, I finally get to tell you about my journey with Erasmus Plus in Bella Italia. Moreover it’s the perfect time to share my experiences with all of you who are currently thinking of joining Vicolocorto and the European Solidarity Corps in sooner or not so sooner future, starting with my decision-making- process around this time one year ago, what I am exactly doing here in Italy and how my life has changed so far.

I can definitely ensure you that this experience is absolutely worth it!

My name, which was already one of the first challenges I had to face after coming to Italy, is Hanna. It feels like almost every second girl/woman here is called Anna and since Italians are not used to pronounce the letter H it is each time again a difficulty to figure out which (H)Anna is really meant.
I am 18 years old and I come from a small city in Austria near to Innsbruck – a city surrounded by high mountains and a lot of nature.
Back in Austria, in my last year of high school, I always had the question stuck in my head, what I would like to do after school and this was literally terrorizing me. I knew that I would not want to continue directly after my graduation with another scholar system and I wanted to take a break of it. At best, also in another country! I have always loved travelling, especially to Italy, where I used to go almost every year with my family in our caravan. I love the easy-going mentality and the enthusiasm of the Italian citizens, the culture, the

surroundings, the language and, of course… the food.
But then there was also the question: Is Italy too close to my home country? Wouldn’t it be more appealing to go a bit further, to another continent even? Maybe to Australia? And then I also asked myself: Or should I even leave my country? Wouldn’t it be easier to simply stay in Austria and to continue my daily life?

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So, to sum up, I totally understand all of you that are currently asking themselves such questions and that do not really know which step they should make next. I am that kind of person that is thinking extremely much but sometimes it is important to simply try new things out and to make the next step forward. And yes, probably it would have been also nice to travel to Australia or to stay even in Austria, but I don’t know. But what I definitely know and what I am sure about is that I am totally happy with the decision I have made with coming to Italy and I really don’t want to imagine my life anymore without having taken this opportunity to dive into the Italian culture.

But what really makes the European Solidarity Corps to what it is, is not the country you are going to, it is the people that you meet during this journey – people that are coming from all over Europe – people that let you get to know about their culture and their way of living – people that are soon not only some people anymore, but your FAMILY.

I am living this all for the first time, since I’ve never lived on my own before, I’ve never got to know how life would feel like not being a student anymore and gaining some working experience, I’ve never spent every day with people that are not my family by blood and I’ve never been for such a long time in a foreign country.

Here in Senigallia, where I live in Italy, I definitely feel like a dream came true. I have always dreamed of living next to the sea. Turned out, it is truly amazing! I am going there almost every single day, enjoying the salty air, the sound of the waves and the beach (at least I used to go there this often before Corona times). And yes, Senigallia is a small city but it has a lot to offer. At first, I was also skeptical about the size of Senigallia, even though it is still bigger than my hometown. But the environment is wonderful: the blue sea, the green hills, the weather – simply tutto!
There are six of us living together in an apartment, ten minutes with the bikes away from the sea. Four of us are working in the center “Le Rondini”, including me, where we help kids of refugees with their homework and where we are organizing some activities for the afternoon. Now, that we have already been here since half a year we have built a good connection with them and it is so touching to see their affection in return. Our two other flatmates are working in the Table Tennis Center (you can already find a blog entry about this center on this website). There is also an event organized called “Talk Together”, where people can join us in order to practice diverse languages like English, Italian or the mother tongues of us volunteers.

Close to Senigallia there are also other volunteers of Vicolocorto, with who we are often in contact with. Together we have made some memorable, gorgeous trips to the cities nearby and it is every time again a new adventure.
Moreover there are organized two trainings in Rome, where we got to know some other European volunteers that have their organizations in different places all over Italy.

Even though, times have changed right now due to the Corona Virus, I am so happy and grateful for all the experiences we were able to make so far. I have learned so much also about myself. My priorities, my future plans and me as a person have changed a lot, I have gained more self-confidence and working experience, I got to explore so many new marvelous places and I have improved my English and Italian skills so, so much. Before for example, I’ve never felt really comfortable with speaking in English and I was wondering how I would be able to survive in another country, living without my parents by not being able to talk in my mother tongue. But it was much easier than expected. Additionally, I’ve improved my cooking skills enormously (I know now for instance, that in order to cook pasta you also need water).

I have found a place, that I can call my second home but most of all, I have found friends for a lifetime!

Grazie mille per quest’esperienza! Sono grata di ogni giorno che posso passare qui in Italia. Sperò che questa pandemia che c’è nel momento finirà prestissimo e che noi potremo continuare a vivere la Dolce Vita fra poco!
Nel frattempo: Saluti e un forte abbraccio (almeno via l’internet l’abbraccio virtuale è ancora possible).

Rimanete in buona salute!

Andrà tutto bene!

Hanna Lechner

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