One of the most difficult things that I did in my life, it was coming back home after six months in EVS. I was in Craiova, Romania, for six months with people from Russia, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, Georgia, France, Macedonia and Spain. After a while, when you are living far from home, really far – and not just geographically, could happen to think about this new place as your home, you get used with another language, with a different weather, and everything that at the begging was extraneous start to became familiar.
You really feel like you are a part of this new country. You understand the language, the traditions, and at the end you will appreciate everything: food, music, habits and so on.
When you come back, the first thing that seems so wired it’s to hear the people that surround you, speak in your mother tongue: the speechs, the habits, the faces, the city that one time were familiar to you, after a period abroad seems so far. This reaction is called “cultural shock”. This is the moment in which you realize that you are different, you just grow up in a really short period and you don't realize until you are at home.
After this period there is a second one, in which you realize that O K A Y, you are back home, with your friends, maybe with your family, and that you have to face your daily routine.This one for me was the worst. I had to understand what form my experience would have taken, and how I would have been able to turn that into something useful for me. You have to re – educate yourself. I missed my friends, my roommates, the cheap beer, the snow, the hitchhiking, I missed stuck in a random street trying to reach a car. I missed everything also the things that I didn’t notice. But now the situation is not so dramatic as it seems from my words. I get used with my new condition, I’m aware that the EVS experience made a best version of me.
Sometimes I just start to think about what I lived there, and all this memories make me happy, and a smile remembering your past is the best think that can happen to you. I’m aware now, of the meaning linked with the word “volunteer”. Is not just an experience abroad, its something more, its a way of thinking that make you a open-minded person, not just because you think you are, but because you could experience that day by day.
I have a big family around the world, and I can visit them at any time. This family is full of people that for me are like stories, like books that sometimes I want to leaf through and share with others.
Here are some ideas on how to continue volunteering after your EVS:
Work camp: is a different way to spend your summer holidays, doing volunteering work of social interest with young people from different countries
Youth Exchanges: Youth Exchanges facilitate an encounter of young people from different countries and backgrounds, providing them the unique opportunity to get to know each other, discuss and confront various themes, building an atmosphere of understanding and respect for other cultures and national differences, through non-formal education methods
International voluntary service: The International Voluntary Service is a member of Service Civil International (SCI). SCI is a coalition of peace organisations, you can fin long or short project, with extra fee that you have to pay to join the project. All around the world.
Au Pair: is an opportunity to learn and improve English and learn about a new culture by taking care of children at a local family
SNC: it’s an Italian project and fot that you should know Italian, it’s a paid service, one year long. Here tmore details: http://www.serviziocivile.gov.it/