Italy is a country that has captured the hearts of many with its incredible food, historical landmarks, and stunning architecture. But beyond the traditional tourist attractions, Italy has a thriving volunteering community that is often overlooked. Volunteering in Italy is a great way to give back to the community and truly experience the culture of this beautiful country.
When I came here to Italy, I didn’t really have any expectations, neither good nor bad. You may be asking yourself now why I didn’t have any expectations? Well, simply because this is my VERY first experience in youth exchange. I’ve never did anything like this before so I didn’t know what to expect. But now, being here in Ravenna for a month and a half, I have nothing but positive things to say about it, and about the experience.
Along this journey I met incredible people. They are immensely polite, friendly and kind. They all accepted me as their friend from the start. The activities that I do here vary. I get new plan of activities and duties that I should do every week. They mostly are around the same things, for example office work, working with teenagers and children, etc. All the kids that I work with and that I met are so eager to learn new things every day and are quite ambitious.
Also, every Friday I do a podcast with teenagers of Ravenna. Now, to be honest I have never done a podcast before and I was quite impressed learning about all the work that goes into making a podcast. Through the podcast, I additionally learned how to edit an episode of a podcast, so I can say that I’m learning new things every day. Besides all this, I’m also starting to learn how to sew. Every Monday I go to a youth center and with the women that take the sewing course I also help them, and besides that, I learned quite a lot about sewing.
Few weeks ago I got to meet other volunteers in Ravenna. They were volunteering in Faenza (which is a nearby city, about hour and a half drive from Ravenna) but they came to Ravenna with us to visit all the monuments of Ravenna. They were all very friendly and delightful people, hilarious too.
I made a new best friend too, her name is Aysegul. She is from Turkey, she came to Ravenna one week after me and we clicked right away. She is going to be a volunteer here as long as me, and I can’t say that I’m excited about our adventures. I mean, imagine going to work with your best friend, that’s wonderful. She is older than me 3 years, so I can say that she is kind of a bigger sister to me that I never had. We get along pretty well and work together well as a duo.
Volunteering in Italy is also a great way to learn Italian and meet new people. Many organizations offer language and cultural courses as part of their volunteering programs. This is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the local culture and gain a deeper understanding of the country, while also making new friends.
In conclusion, volunteering in Italy is an incredible way to give back to the community, learn about Italian culture and language, and experience the country beyond the usual tourist attractions. With so many opportunities available, it’s easy to find a volunteering program that suits your interests and schedule. Whether you’re interested in helping refugees, conservation efforts, or simply learning a new language, volunteering in Italy is an experience you won’t forget.
ESC project: “Ravenna in Europe”, SE.M.I. – Seeds for More Interculture