Clara from France, 24 years old, Re-Activate in Senigallia, Italy, sending by Pistes Solidaires
Chance always makes things right!
I was not really predestined to do a European Voluntary Service, I just wanted to do something useful. One day I received an e-mail from the Vicolocorto association proposing an emergency departure from Senigallia in Italy. A week later, I begin my experience without really knowing what I was going to do and without knowing how to speak a single word of Italian.
Welcome to the intercultural centre “Le Rondini”*, an association that acts as an after-school centre for children between 7 and 14 years old, mainly foreigners and migrants. We help them with their homework, we offer cultural and sports activities and we act as a summer centre during the summer period.
In the field
For 10 months, I didn’t go back to France (only three days in Paris for my graduation). I celebrated Christmas and Easter; in Italy with the European volunteers and the volunteers of our association. It was the best way to see the Italian traditions at these important times in family gatherings. Fortunately, since then my Italian has improved a lot. We have participated in many events; whenever we meet people, they are always warm and grateful for our involvement in their city. Rarely have I felt such gratitude as I have since I have been here.
This experience gave me the courage to do things I never had enough courage to do. I dreamed for years of doing theatre and how I like challenges: I started doing theatre in Italy, in Italian. I even went on holiday for three days alone, I met lots of people on the road! I experienced this volunteering as a real opportunity to visit Italy, between big cities, small villages, mountains and sea: I think I know Italy better than France. Just for that, this experience is incredible.
After 9 months, I feel that I belong in this country, that the missions I carry out are useful; and that the people we work with are happy to be able to count on us and our help on a daily basis. For 10 months, I lived an extremely strong and intense human adventure, at a level I could never have imagined. It was a break in my life that allowed me to understand who I was, what I wanted in life and especially what I don’t want. I come back to France, more fulfilled than ever, with thousands of memories, miles travelled and encounters.
3 words about my European volunteering:
solidarity, discovery, friendship
*Rondini in Italian means swallow. The leitmotiv of the association: they welcome children, help them to grow, integrate and learn and then one day they take off. For me, this is a beautiful metaphor for European Voluntary Service.