I Don’t Know What to Do – Riccardo Dallavalle

When I graduated from high school, last summer, I didn’t know what to expect about my life, I didn’t know which one was the right pathway to follow, that one that would have made me proud but, most of all, happy, and also that one that would have pleased my parents. I have always been asking myself, during my last year of the Italian grammar school I was attending, how on earth was it possible that my classmates were so sure, at least that’s how it seemed to me, which was the proper choice to make after getting the diploma. My biggest fear which still panics me is what if I choose something that I would not like, supposedly then I would get into lots of red tape, wasting lots of time and money; I guess I would be back to the drawing  board.

Not knowing what to do, I have been thinking for a while about finding an opportunity of growth in volunteering. I knew that being a volunteer is a cool experience since I have taken part in Expo Milano 2015 as a member of its volunteering program. I enjoyed it in a big way, I met new people with different temperaments and mentalities who changed me for the better and I hope I have also changed them a tad for the better.

I was looking on the internet for volunteering opportunities abroad, I would have wanted to go to Africa, but I did not find a project apropos with my interests. After a while, I tried to apply for a project in Russia which I considered valuable, with children and elders, for helping  them and for giving them a smile; what is more, I fancied the idea of learning Russian which I believe is a picturesque language, rich in culture. By the way, after sending the application form for six months in St. Petersburg, it was rejected because there were more valiant people than me who had applied before. I was a chink sad and disappointed because I was eager to leave and not to stay home twiddling my thumbs.

At this point, I could have been looking for a job, but I did not consider a job like working for one of the evergreen fast-food chain as valuable in terms of experiences, such as volunteering abroad; as the people at Harvard say, before studying here, you had better doing a long-term volunteering experience, so you will be way more successful having increased your Human Capital (as Smith said).

This being said, I enrolled in a similar project in Romania. It was of three months, from February till the end of April 2016, with children in a hospital and some orphanages. Three months was good so as to it wasn’t too long for my first time abroad alone but nonetheless still enough. I regret the fact that now I cannot do another EVS. I chose Romania because it was the first project available and because perhaps I will attend the university here. I lived in Baia Mare – a cozy city in the North of Romania – it is almost comparable with Varese in Italy. With the children we had great and fun times. After all, I cannot know what the future holds for me, but now I will discover it with more consciousness.


Riccardo Dallavalle (Italy) has been hosted by Team for Youth Association in Baia Mare, in the “ReAnimate” project, an European Voluntary Service, financed by the European Commission, within the Erasmus+ Programme.