I almost started feeling home here
As my EVS experience is coming to the end, I think it is the right moment to take stock of all the things I have been passing through during the last 11 months.
Approaching this topic I have that strange feeling that I am not sure if I just arrived yesterday or if I have been living here during my whole life. I totally lost the control of the time, and now the sensation I have is that all the days passed so quickly that I wasn't able to catch them. Whether it´s true or not, no doubt this experience meaningfully improved my professional, emotional and personal knowledge.
The challenges I had to face sometimes were more difficult than what I expected. (Especially concerning the culture and the weather. Above all, the weather) But the things and the skills I gained during this months are pricelesses, and all of them are somehow connected with the challenges I had to due with.
Facing the crazy weather of Bratislava, which can change more than ten times in a day, became a metaphor of how sometimes we can just accept things as what they are, and it's even better if we try to appreciate them. (Even when you are surprised by a heavy shower, while you are crossing the city one side to the other. And even if you are doing that by bike.)
Dealing with the slovakian language made me discover that in spite of my degree in languages I still had to learn how to actually study a language. And it also helped me to get a little more in contact with the Slovakian way of thinking, which, on some aspect, I think is genial. (How much cool and true is the word nemoc, with all its derivatives? I mean, I just love it!)
Finally, the biggest gain comes of course by the friendships and the relationships started up. I can't say it was easy. We definitely have differents social life habits. But, by the way, I feel that the relations we were able to build, with my colleagues and friends, are strong and authentic.
Talking about the EVS experience in a more general perspective, no doubts I would recommend it to everybody. During this year I had the chance to focus one hundred percent on my personal development. And I can't lie, with all this time for myself I had the feeling that in many occasions I was wasting this huge opportunity, or that I wasn't fulfilling it properly. But by the way, saying this, I am not excluding that even that less productive moments were somehow important and a source of learning.
Answering the question if EVS helped me to increase my european citizenship feeling (which should be one of the main goals EVS was created for) it's still hard to me. I don´t know if I can say that I am feeling more european than one year ago. I was born in Europe and I am probably feeling european since always. Therefore, what I am sure about is that living in a border country, where the borders were open almost thirty years ago, made me realize that I am often taking for granted my rights and my privileges. Which is quite dangerous during these last times in Europe and in Italy.
By the way, moving closer to the end of this project I can finally say that against all expectations by my side, I almost started feeling home here in Slovakia.
Text a foto: Elisa Defrancisci/ EVS volunteer
Elisa bola dobrovoľníčkou na 12 mesiacov v organizácii Mládež ulice. BDC bolo v rámci projektu ESC koordinujúcou organizáciou. Dobrovoľnícky program Európske zbory solidarity (ESC) je financovný z finančných prostriedkov Európskej Únie v rámci programu Erazmus +späť na zoznam