Working with young people has always been one of my dreams since I was a teenager. I could see potential and different skills on everyone I was meeting and I decided to put this competence at use for next generations.
Thus, when I heard Martina Bert, a friend of mine, had already came back from her EVS (European Volunteer Service) in Greece, I rushed to her with dozens of questions to answer to.
What has driven you to participate into an EVS programme?
I decided to take part in the volunteer programme because I wanted to challenge myself. I was feeling without neither inspiration nor motivation and I was determined to get involved into this amazing opportunity. Indeed, it was a real and great challenge, to leave all of your world and comfort zones to start facing new experiences and daily realities in a country you do not belong to. It was a fascinating “journey”, but hard at the same time.
Where did you spend, and for how long, your project?
I spent twelve wonderful months in the Northern Greece, in Thessaloniki.
What was the topic and the purpose of the project?
The project I was involved into was called “Ap-rise you rise yourself against poverty” and we mainly helped families with economical disavantages through basic services like the collecting of groceries, clothes, toys, children products and psychological support.
Who were your coordinators for the project (as for the sending and the host organisations)? How much would you rate the EVS’s whole planning?
The sending organization I was linked to has been A.n.n.f.a.s from Pordenone city and the tutor was Anna De Vita, while the hosting organization of the Greece side is called Oikogenia kai Paidi (it deals with family and child issues) and the responsible person for it was Xristos, who spent his time with us on volunteer basis. I consider myself quite lucky, as both associations shown support, interest, openness and a true will to help during all my path.
How was a regular day scheduled? Describe us a daily routine and consequent significant activities.
None of all you asked. I mean, there was not a scheduled day or routine. We have our timetable that have could been changed in every moment, as the association necessary and needs. I was working from 10 am till 16 pm: twice a week I was aiding with the clothes’ allocation, once a week I was in charge of the Italian classes, another day I was participating at the arts classes or I was involved in office and administration duties around the city. We often managed and organised fund-raising events. With no doubts, all the proceeds were addressed to the families. I also learnt how to prepare the Turkish coffee!! I can tell you all the members of the organization appreciated it!
Can you tell us pros and cons of the experience?
As for the advantages I can say I have learnt a new language, met new people with different backgrounds, plunged myself into a new culture and built a brand-new social environment. Moreover, I have found myself involved in lots of working situations and tasks that had given me the possibility of travelling and tearing down loads of prejudices and biases. Regarding the disadvantages I had to deal with, well…ask to another volunteer, my mind is a blank space to them! I never encountered them during the whole experience.
What does mean “meeting another culture” in your opinion?
To me the Greek culture meant strenght and joy. It was love at the first sight and I was mesmerised and astonished from the cheerfulness of the Greek people and the places you were in. I felt as comfortable as ever in this “unusual” way of living.
Which competences and skills do you feel you have acquired from the EVS experience?
I am glad I developed my linguistic skills. I only communictaed in Greek and English last year. Professionally speaking, I enhanced some skills I already had, like the IT and the artistic ones, not to mention I mastered some other new ones I prefer not to reveal, as they are at their early-stage.
Would you recommend your peers to take part in a programme like this?
Everyone between 18-30 should do an experience of this kind. It is a huge opportunity that helps to wide your horizons and your eyes on the world and, most of all, on yourselves!
To conclude, how will you dismiss us?
“Κανείς δεν μένει χωρίς πατρίδα όσο υπάρχει η Θεσσαλονίκη”
Martina Bert is 27 years old and she works as a social worker and she is involved in projects and associations that promotes activities for young people and for the social benefit of the community. She loves travelling and she is very communicative and creative.
The EVS – Eureopean Volunatry Service is a programme designed by the European Commission to give young people between 18 – 30 the opportunity to take part in an European project with a specific topic, for a period of 2-12 months. This action helps people to gain experience in relevant contexts and high-professional environments and thus, all the skills and competences gained through this opportunity are an enrinchment for a young CV and resumè.