Category Archives: Servizio Volontario Europeo (EVS)

A Month of Resilience

From October to November 2017, we took part, as Vicolocorto, in Resilienza Lab, a series of events organized by Fondazione Wanda di Ferdinando in collaboration with Settenove, Vicolocorto, Centro per le famiglie di Pesaro and Non c’è Problema as well as Provincia di Pesaro e Urbino. The project was divided into three parts: Resilience and Work, Resilience and Health, and How to be Resilient Today.

Each of these parts started with an introduction by the president of the Foundation Federica Maria Panicali and was conducted by Dr Michela Fortugno, the head of the psychology department at Azienda Ospedaliera Riuniti Marche Nord.


On the first meeting dedicated to Resilience and Work our association, Vicolocorto, gave a short presentation about the international mobility opportunities that EVS offers to young people. This was the  topic in which we had some personal experience that helped us relate to the subject, therefore the only one when we actually spoke. We were invited to share our experience with the European Voluntary Service, the reasons that made us leave our cities and apply for the project, and in what way being resilient helps us to deal with our day-to-day problems. We found it very interesting to realize once more that no matter where you are from, the struggles and challenges you face at a certain point in your life can be very similar to the ones of so many other people. The evening was concluded with a screening of a documentary about Italians working on farms in Australia as a solution to the problem of not finding a job in Italy.

On the second meeting Resilience and Health was discussed and Centro per La Famiglia presented their work. The presentation was followed by a screening of a documentary about Alessandro Cavallini, a 14 year old boy who was diagnosed with a grave tumor as a small child. During the final meeting IoNonCrollo Association delivered their testimony and Fondazione Wanda di Ferdinando presented the rules and deadlines for applying for their annual grant.

Photo courtesy of Fondazione di Ferdinando

The Fondazione chose resilience as the main topic, because this ability is central in many areas of our lives. Whether we’re facing a disease, a natural disaster, situation of unemployment, or any other kind of problem, resilience can help us adapt to life tasks in the face of social disadvantage or other highly adverse conditions. And, good news, as an ability, it can be learned and developed by everyone. During this month we learned not only about the concept itself, but we also got to know examples of resilience in many areas of life, as well as tips and techniques to start practicing resilience. We applaud the initiative of Fondazione di Ferdinando to organize and deliver such interesting tools to the community, trying to go beyond charity and contributing to people’s education and motivation.


Karolina & Filipa


Back to school! Linguistic support by EVS volunteers

As volunteers at Vicolocorto, one of our tasks is to promote the learning of foreign languages and, more specifically, English as a lingua franca. For this purpose, one of the main activities we are currently undertaking is the linguistic support at schools. We assist in some English classes with kids aged between 12 and 18 where we talk to them, present our countries, talk about cultural similarities and differences, etc.


So far, during the last two weeks we have been in two schools of Pesaro, the Istituto Comprensivo G. Gaudiano and the Istituto di Istruzione Superiore F. Mengaroni. The school year has only begun so we will be giving much more presentations. In the first Istituto, we presented ourselves and we talked about why we decided to do the EVS. We also talked about the differences between our countries and Italy (e.g. at what time we have lunch and dinner, how does the life of a teenager look like, what are the differences between educational systems), about the city of Pesaro and the surroundings, and about the European Voluntary Service. At the second Istituto we prepared some presentations: the first about Portugal, its customs, food, etc. The second presentation was about the novel Don Quixote, written by a Spanish writer. Then it was the turn of The Netherlands, where we talked about Sinterklaas, their Christmas festivity. Finally, the last presentation was about Poland, also about its customs, cities, food and traditions.


It was very gratifying to see how kids paid attention to our stories and learnt from the different cultures that we brought them. They were a little bit shy at the beginning, but soon they started to ask some questions and to talk with us. It is also gratifying to see that, at the same time, they were learning English in a very dynamic and entertaining way, without even being conscious that they were learning. But, furthermore, not only did the children learn from this, we ourselves learned from each other. This is, from my point of view, the best thing about EVS: the opportunity to learn from other’s experiences and lives.


Sono qui!


This is me, Filipa. I’m 28 years old and I’m from Portugal. Olá!

This is me, Karolina. I’m 22 years old and I’m from Poland. Cześć!

(…while having our first lunch break in a random cafe by the sea)

Filipa: It all started at Bologna’s central station at a non-existent “Mc Donald’s meeting-point” on a sunny Friday in the beginning of October. You had been there for a day, I had just arrived.

Karolina: After a long wait in the queue we managed to get our tickets to Pesaro. Thankfully, the attendant spoke English since we spoke no Italian. We still don’t. But we will get there. Remember all the people on the train?

F: Now that you mention it, yeah! Me with my two huge bags, you with your tiny rolling suitcase.

K: First of all, it was not that tiny. Secondly, I also had a hand bag and a backpack.

F: Either way. I remember the train being super busy and all my big bags and your tiny rolling suitcase plus hand bag plus backpack being in everyone’s way. So. How were you feeling back then?

K: I remember being anxious before departing, but I guess it was just the reisefieber.

F: Er… the reise-who?

K: It’s a German word. We don’t have it in Polish. But it means, like… when you are excited but stressed at the same time. Like a “travel fever”. Do you have that word in Portuguese?

F: Oh, fancy. Ok. Well, I had no such fever. And I don’t think we have any word for that in Portuguese.

K: What about you? How did you feel?

F: I remember just the excitement part. I don’t think I was stressed or anxious. I was just a little bummed that they hadn’t served any food on the plane. Thankfully, I had just arrived to the land of food! I remember us sitting in the train trying to get to know each other, speaking about what brought us here – what was it that you said about your two versions for explaining to people why you chose EVS?

K: I just finished my Bachelor’s degree and decided to take a gap year, but there are two “versions” of the reason why I did that. The official one says that the Master’s program I want to do is not open until next year so the gap year is kind of forced on me. But to be frank, I’m not 100% sure which one I want to apply for. Anyway, you said that you quit your job recently so that you could do an EVS, right?

F: Well, I did quit my job three weeks ago. Not specifically to do an EVS but because I had been working in the same company for five years and I wasn’t feeling challenged nor motivated anymore. I decided to quit and take a break from adult-life, to refocus and restore energies! Also, learning a new language is a big pro since I’ve been working in the tourism field and will probably continue doing so once I go back home. Can you still remember what were your first impressions of Italy?

C: I’ve been in Italy before so I had an idea of what to expect, but these were holiday trips, which is totally different from living in the country for six months. What I find difficult to adapt to are the working hours. In Poland we work continuously, we don’t have such a big break that allows you to go back home for lunch. Have you experienced some cultural differences as well?

F: Like you said, I’ve been to Italy before too and coming from a Latin country I believe we share some of the fundamental culture characteristics. There are, however, a few things that bug me, like the fact that everyone is so obsessed with relationships and weather you are or you are not dating someone. But I think what bothers me the most in Pesaro is the lack of public transportation, especially at night. I’m trying to look at it as an opportunity though, to improve my biking skills and getting fit! You know, after all the cheese and pasta we’ve been eating… a little calorie burn doesn’t hurt!

K: Sure…as they say, every cloud has a silver lining!

(the waiter came with our daily dose of carbs and we sat there, eating silently)


Filipa and Karolina