EVS Stories: Between carefreeness and responsibilities – by Silvia Quattrone

I’m Silvia and I come from Italy. For a long time I looked around me, eager to have an experience outside of Italy. I saw a lot of EVS projects that I liked, but every time I was afraid or all the projects were too long for me considering that I couldn’t spend much time far from my city because of the studies.                                                                                  

When I read the ReAnimate info pack and found out I could work with children and spend only three months outside of my country, I thought:

This is the perfect project! And I’ve never been in Romania, I’m sure there will be also a good opportunity to know better this mysterious country!

And it was exactly like that!

So I left my temporary job, curious and scared at the same time, and I arrived in Baia Mare. Adapting to a new culture and a new language immediately wasn’t easy, but from the beginning of this experience, I have met people that helped me to feel good. All the other volunteers were young and cute and I felt all the time their carefreeness.

I came from a period of great responsibility and the new atmosphere helped me relax and opened my mind to this new experience. EVS is about carefreeness and responsibilities at the same time. You can work and be responsible about your project and your activities, especially when you work with vulnerable people, but you can also have time to live the life without thoughts, having fun, doing party, meeting new people, travelling. I met a lot of people from different countries and it helped me getting to know more about their cultures, like Spain, France, Turkey, Hungary, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Germany, Nepal, Portugal, New Caledonia, Reunion Island and of course Romania!

During my experience in Baia Mare, I spent three months working with children in the hospital, getting a boost of happiness and good mood through it. I prepared also activities for children in different orphanages to improve their social skills and spend their free time in a positive way. I did activities and had fun time with people that attend a centre for motor disabilities. It was a really great project!

I learnt to do a lot of games and activities, I improved my English and I learnt words in Romanian through my work with children. I learnt new ways of communicating and new learning strategies while asking and observing people with more experience.

It wasn’t the first experience for me with these types of beneficiaries, but every day it was a nice discovery.

During my EVS, I taught Italian to the other volunteers once a week in a formal class, in the office of the association. It was only one of the opportunities to teach something about Italy, because I taught Italian in non formal ways during the free time, when people asked me about words in my language. Furthermore, I presented Italy during an intercultural event to a group of teenagers, victims of the conflict from Ukraine, that were visiting Baia Mare. It was a good chance to show my culture but also to adapt the information to teenagers.

EVS was also about travelling. I wanted to discover Romania. I visited a lot of nice places and I was enraptured about this unknown country. Travelling with low budget gave me the opportunity to try new kind of transportation and accommodation. I did hitchhiking, something that was impossible even to think to do before being here. I did it thanks to the other volunteers that helped me to be a little bit more courageous. It was so funny and a really crazy experience for me!

Now, I will return to Italy and tell about this experience, about Romania and about the amazing people I met here! I will miss this great experience!