Chiara: My first experience as an ESC volunteer
Hello there! My name is Chiara, I am from Italy and it is almost one month that I am here :) as a volunteer within the European Solidarity Corps Programme.
It is almost a month since I arrived in Bratislava and I have already done a lot of experiences. During the first week here I worked in the office and I had the training for leaders. It is my first time working in an office and before I got here, I was scared of not being able to. But, as soon as I got here, I immediately felt better because everyone in the office was always available, kind and ready to answer any questions. During the very first day, they organized a barbecue and I have to say, other than good food :) they helped me translating from Slovak to English and I felt part of the conversation!
It is my first time in Slovakia but I love it already! Bratislava is a beautiful city, but above all it's not too big and I love the fact that you can walk around it. One of my favorite things is that in every corner there is a garden or a park where you can sit and enjoy a book. Although I have been here for almost a month, I have to admit that there are still several things that are new to me; for example, public transport that works and is on time, which in Italy is really difficult to have, and I noticed how many families and especially young parents there are… now I understand better why Italy is called a country of old people!
After the first week in Bratislava, I left for my first workcamp ever of which I will always have a beautiful memory! The workcamp was in Lukovištia a small village in the middle of Slovakia with a breathtaking landscape, and we were 5 volunteers. The aim of the project was renovating an old school, so we cut the grass, cut the trees and plants, dug and take care of the trees which had been planted prior to our arrival. I enjoyed the job even if sometimes was hard. I met beautiful people and we had a lot of fun; we played a lot of cards games and we were almost never on our phones which was the best part. We shared a lot of fun facts about our cultures as well as food, especially on "Feasts of Cultures”. One of the best parts for me was sleeping in a tent. I had already done it in the past but this time was magical because for most of the evenings it rained and it felt unreal. We also went on Saturday at Teplý Vrch where we stayed for the afternoon and we also had pizza all together! The next day we went into the museum of the main city, Rimavská Sobota. We did a lot of interesting activities and the local partner was really available in every moment and he played with us too so he was part of the group. At the workcamp I had the opportunity to try some Slovak foods such as Bryndzové halušky, Goulash even if it is not really Slovak :), and a lot of Kofola!!
I had one of the most memorable weeks of my life and the good part is that I am still in contact with some of the volunteers and maybe we will meet again during summer…
In august I will be leader of two different workcamps and I am so excited to try new experiences and to meet new people… I will update you guys!