Another day. The new sun rises above the horizon. I am sitting all alone in my green yard, drinking a cup of tea while eating dark bread chips. Meanwhile, my heart, that little traitor, is still at the seaside among friends, drinking coffee and staring at another slice of pizza. After more than ten months of volunteering abroad, I came back to Lithuania. To my Lithuania. The country I love the most. However, a piece of my heart remained in Italy. Moreover, it will never come back home, because what I have created in the country of pasta is more than just warm memories.
One of the treasures I got in Italy is knowledge. I went there knowing “Bella ciao” as well as “Arrivederci Roma” and came back speaking Italian with my friends. Due to volunteering in Mensa (a place where we made food for people in need) I have learned how to cook Italian dishes and my flatmate taught me Turkish ones. Working with local farmers enriched me with agricultural knowledge, furthermore, working in hosting NGO made me even more European. Should I mention that from the daily practice, I have learned another style of street crossing, taking public transport or queuing? Joking! But it is still knowledge.
Apart from the technical skills I got, I also grew up as a person. I met a new me! The one I like more. Now I have more self-confidence (hey, I have survived in a foreign country during the pandemic!) as well as the courage to take action. Creativity I had before, now jumped on another cloud, therefore, is a step closer to the sky. It was also followed by the new possibilities of fast learning and adaptation. Furthermore, I have learned to open my heart to everyone. I have learned to listen. Now I hear different people better and it lets me understand them more. This is how I became a friend of everyone.
In Italy, I also got a lot of other priceless gifts. When the Covid situation was under control, I have been traveling around Puglia, the gem of Italy. Discovering little streets, relaxing at the seaside, eating dishes from one of the best cuisines in the world…There are few things that might be better. And one which is the best. It is Italian families. I found more than one which felt like my home! Italians are beautiful people, both from the inside and outside. They made this experience in Italy…I guess I do not know a suitable word to express myself. It was more than amazing, more than inspiring or breath-taking. Better than the best.
Due to all the things that I have learned when volunteering in Italy, professional and personal, due to the precious gifts I got, I have started to see the world as a much more beautiful place. What could be better than that? Erasmus volunteering in Italy was my greatest teacher, my best friend, and my new family member. If you still doubt if you should go to ESC, don’t. You might be closing the door of opportunities to your best adventures.
Wondering how to travel sustainably?
Find our top tips for green Erasmus+ travel here.