EVS: A Life Experience
Zdravo! Ja sam Monia!
Hi everyone! I’m Monia, a 24 years old girl who loves travel and meet people of different countries. I graduated in International Relations and Diplomatic Affairs at the University of Bologna and, like a lot of guys of my age, I have to answer to the inevitable question: “And now?? What will you do?”. My answer was contained in an acronym: EVS. It means European Voluntary Service and it’s a great opportunity for who, like me, has finished his/her studies and want to prove themselves.
PS: Those who want to know more about the EVS program can look at this link: http://europeanvoluntaryservice.org/what-is-evs/
So now I am in Sombor, a very beautiful city in the northwest of Serbia, and I will be an EVS volunteer at SomborskiEdukativniCentar until August.
First Impression of Serbia
I came here more than one month ago and, as it often happens, nothing was as I imagined it. I landed in Belgrade, a chaotic metropolis dipped in the fog, and I took the bus to go to Sombor. During those 4 hours on the bus I could admire the panorama: there was an alternation of few big cities on one side and farms surrounded by only land on the other side. Once arrived in Sombor I was happily surprised by the gentleness of the local people. After few minutes during which you can see distrust in their eyes (totally normal considering that I am a foreigner) they show a gentleness that I rarely found even in my own country. One episode can describe perfectly this behavior. During the first week there was a problem with the bathroom so the other Italian volunteer and I knocked to our neighbors’door to ask for help. At first he didn’t trust us because, not speaking English, he couldn’t understand us. After few minutes he arrived in our house with all his family trying to solve our problem.
What about the organization….it is simply amazing. The first time that I came in the building, where the ngo is located, I was fascinated by the colourful and lively environment they succeeded to create. Of course, working with children, the aim was to create an environment that was comforting for them and they did it!
All the people who work and volunteer here are very kindly and ready to help you in every moment. Two are the aspects that I like very much. The first one is that everyone has the possibility to do something that he/she really likes; I think it is a basic aspect to guarantee a good job and the continuous development of the organization itself. The second aspect is the cooperation among all these people. Even if they are busy because of job, studies, family’s duties they always find a moment to support the organization’s activities.
The organization promotes different activities, from the repetitions for children to the organization of events about job. The first activity in which I participated was the street event for the International Day of Human Rights, on 10 December. The other EVS volunteer and I gave our help for the preparation of the event whose aim was sensitize people to the theme of human rights. It was amazing see how many people stop to look what we were doing or to know the reason of this action. I had also the possibility to support another street action for the gathering of sweets to give to the children and it was amazing! A lot of parents brought some sweets for the collection and their children had the possibility not only to take one Christmas magnet…they can also make a picture with Santa Claus himself! It was wonderful see how many volunteers had worked for that and how many adults and children were involved in this action!
Welcome to Italy!
During the second week that I was in Serbia the other EVS volunteer and I had made a presentation of our country and us. It was a great idea to introduce us to the organization in this way and also give us the possibility to show new aspects about Italy. After a short presentation of both of us, we had involved people to the discovery of Italian places, dishes and traditions through some funny games. And now, after having introduced some aspects of Italian tradition,Iam totally ready to embrace the Serbian culture.
It happens only in the movies and… to me!
Usually when someone goes aboard he has always funny and crazy stories to tell his friends, so I want to tell you my “funny” story.
I went to Italy for Christmas and after having eaten sweets and having fun with my family and friends it was time to come back to my EVS project. I had to take a flight from Rome to Belgrade and then take a bus for Sombor. So I went to the airport and greeted my family thinking that in less than two hours I would have reach the Serbian capital without any problem. Here it starts my “adventure”. Because of the fog the captain of the airplane couldn’t land in Belgrade, so the others passengers and I ended up in Podgorica (the capital of Montenegro) and we waited for 5 hours into the plane and the only thing that I could see was the view of the airport from my place. But it is not all. After several attempts a metallic voice announced us that we had to come back to Rome, change airplane and leave again hoping to arrive in Belgrade. So after 13 hours I finally arrive in Serbia! Usually one says that the travel is more important than the destination but, in this case, I appreciated more the arrival than the trip.
Monia de Marcellis